Abrupt resignation: Real Real founder resigns as CEO, chair and board member

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Photo credit: Daniel Kelleghan
The Real Real has begun the search for a new CEO. (Photo by: Daniel Kelleghan)

There’s been a change at the top at The Real Real.

The luxury resale company said that its founder, Julie Wainwright, has decided to step down from her role as CEO, chairperson and board member, effective June 7.  She has led the company, which was founded in 2011, for 11 years ago.

The board has appointed Rati Sahi Levesque, Real Real president and COO, and Robert Julian, CFO, as co-interim CEOs, also effective June 7. They will also remain in their current roles.  As the board searches for a new permanent CEO, Wainwright has agreed to stay in an advisory role as the founder until the end of 2022.

On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank Julie for her leadership and commitment to The Real Real,” said Rob Krolik, lead independent director. “Julie is a true visionary and pioneer whose passion for sustainable retail and deep e-commerce expertise helped transform the luxury resale market and create the broader circular economy for the benefit of consumers across the country.”

The Real Real reported a net loss of $57 million for its fiscal first quarter, up from $56 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue rose 48% to $147 million.

In a statement, Wainwright said she was “deeply proud of the company we have built and am honored to have worked with a team that champions our founding vision of creating a more sustainable future for fashion.”

“The Real Real continues to make progress on its path to profitability, and I feel now is the right time for the next generation of leadership to guide the company through its next chapter,” she added.

On the appointment of interim co-CEOs Levesque and Julian, Krolik said that “Rati and Robert bring complementary skillsets that together create a powerful combination of operational, financial and industry expertise.”

“They are exceptionally well suited to serve as Co-Interim CEOs while the search for a permanent CEO replacement is underway,” he continued.

Levesque has served as the president of The RealReal since 2021 and COO since 2019. She previously served as the company’s chief merchant from 2012 to 2019. Before joining The RealReal in 2011, Levesque was the owner of Anica Boutique, a fashion and home store.

Julian has served as CFO of The Real Real since 2021 and has over 30 years of financial management experience. Prior to joining The Real Real, Julian served in various executive leadership roles at Sportsman’s Warehouse, Deluxe Entertainment Services, Callaway Golf and Lydall, among others.

The Real Real describes itself as the world’s largest online marketplace for authenticated, resale luxury goods, with more than 27 million members. It operates retail locations, including 16 “shoppable stores,” where customers can sell, meet with experts and receive free valuations for their goods.

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