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11/18/2021

Away Taps J. Crew for New Chief Digital Officer

Travel brand Away announced a trio of leadership announcements intended to position the company for growth amid the recovering travel industry.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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Luke Chatelain

Travel brand Away named Luke Chatelain its first chief digital officer, part of a trio of leadership announcements intended to strengthen the company as the travel industry improves.

Most recently chief digital officer of J. Crew, Chatelain will oversees the company’s digital product, UX, and insights teams. He also also served as VP, innovation and digital product of West Elm.

Other new hires include Melissa Weiss as chief marketing officer and Charles Liu as chief operating officer, the latter of which is also a new role.

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Melissa Weiss

Weiss will oversee Away’s marketing organization, including brand marketing, growth marketing, creative, and communications functions. Another J. Crew alum, she’s also served as CMO of Barry’s Bootcamp, head of marketing at Lyft’s Micromobility division, head of brand marketing and strategy at Amazon’s fashion division, and VP of global communications at Theory.

Liu, who joined in October, is tasked with overseeing its Away's end-to-end supply chain and business technology teams amid significant investments in business infrastructure. He’s also held roles at Walmart, Shopko, and Walgreens.

Most recently COO of DTC mattress brand Casper — which this week announced its would be acquired by investment firm Durational Capital Management — Liu will lead Away's end-to-end supply chain and business technology teams amid what the company described as “significant investments” in its infrastructure.

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Charles Liu

He also previously served as VP of supply chain for Walmart and chief supply chain officer for Shopko, and has held roles at Walgreens, Ahold USA and Whirlpool.

Away launched in 2016 as a direct-to-consumer luggage company and now sells both DTC and through retail. As with many travel brands, it was deeply affected by the pandemic-imposed travel restrictions, but Jen Rubio, Away CEO, said in a statement the company is now seeing increasing consumer demand and gains across all of its categories.

"As we prepare for our next stage of growth and a critical year ahead, we are thrilled to welcome Charles, Melissa, and Luke to our leadership team,” she added. “These talented and accomplished leaders bring an impressive depth of experience and diverse expertise to Away. I'm eager to see how their leadership will help drive operational excellence, foster innovation, deepen our community engagement, and unlock Away's unbounded future."

Editor's note: This article originally ran in sister publication Consumer Goods Technology