It’s official: Emily Weiss, the woman who brought us Boy Brow and a series of unforgettable performances as the “super intern” on MTV’s The Hills (not to mention was named in more than a few workplace racism claims) is stepping down as CEO of Glossier.
On Tuesday, one of the last remaining members of the Girlboss Guard™ announced the decision via a letter to the “Glossier Community” writing:
I’ve had the privilege of not just being Glossier’s founder since 2014, but also its CEO…I’ve always thought of these titles as unique from one another: A founder is a forever identity, one that starts with a kernel of an idea and never ends. I will always be Glossier’s founder. But a CEO is the champion that a company looks to, to lead it into tomorrow. From my observation, the greatest companies in the world understand this distinction and make sure that the CEO seat is always filled with the right person to take it where it needs to go for its brightest next chapter. Every year I reflect on Glossier, and specifically, the ever-evolving role of the CEO in our young company’s life cycle. I check in and ask myself the same question: Am I the best person to lead the company, for where we are and where we’re headed? And if not, who is? This year, as has often been the case with some of our proudest and most pivotal moments at Glossier, a person inspired a new direction: Her name is Kyle Leahy, and I’m thrilled to announce that she’s stepping up into the CEO role.
Say it ain’t so! Weiss has now joined the fallen ranks of millennial girl bosses, including Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso and The Wing’s Audrey Gelman, among others.
Glossier, the one-time preferred makeup for Millennials, skyrocketed to stardom back in 2016 for its arguably ingenious marketing, pastel packaging, and yes, its very effective products—namely, Invisible Shield. Until 2020, the brand garnered glowing reviews, established a series of successful showrooms from Los Angeles to London, and boasted a valuation of over a billion dollars.
Then came “Outta the Gloss,” a widely-circulated social media campaign created and operated by former employees as the Black Lives Matter movement surged in the summer of 2020. The former employees alleged an “ongoing insidious culture of anti-Blackness, transphobia, ableism, and retaliation” at Glossier’s retail locations—especially within its flagship store in SoHo. Accusations ranged from customers’ disparagement of Latinx workers to touching without consent.
Weiss addressed the allegations with another blog post, writing that “outside counsel” was involved in an investigation and that conversations were being had with retail team members: “...after hearing about their lived experiences, as well as their desire to make Glossier better, we all knew we needed to take action.”
And yet, it wasn’t enough for Glossier to return to its former standing. The brand’s last two years have included layoffs and devastating losses in both money and public popularity.
Now, it appears it’s up to Kyle Leahy—a former executive at Nike, Cole Haan, and American Express to shoulder the brand’s new burdens. As for Weiss, she’s soon due to give birth and will be staying around as Executive Chairwoman. Still, it appears the days of gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss are finally near dead—even if there are still a few in politics. Oh, and corporate America. And Hollywood.