Thursday, 12 March 2020

Tyler Haney speaks out about her exit from Outdoor Voices

Following her sudden departure from the sportswear brand once hailed as a start-up darling, Tyler Haney, the founder and former CEO of Outdoor Voices has spoken out about the “gender and generational differences” that led to her exit via an Instagram post.

“At OV, my playbook was different than what had been done before and this was intentional,” explained 31-year-old Haney, who founded Outdoor Voices in 2012 after completing a business program at the Parsons School of Design.

“I believed in zigging when others zagged and we built a beautiful, strong #doingthings community with a powerful mindset that moves people by doing so. This approach was uncomfortable for some especially those who had done it one way for a long time and I understand and appreciate that” she continued, alluding to disagreements at the company prior to her departure.

Haney further claimed that she is unable to tell the full story of her experience at Outdoor Voices “because of documents I was required to sign when being removed from my position at OV while on maternity leave,” going on to highlight what she described as “an unsettling trend lately to interview ex-employees of female-founded companies and report their claims either at face value or without any context,” seemingly in reference to recently published articles in which Outside Voices employees spoke of an abusive culture of fear at the company.

The announcement of Haney’s departure from the brand at the end of February certainly came after months of tension between the CEO, other executives at the company and former board chairman Mickey Drexler.

Formerly the CEO of J.Crew, Drexler became chairman of Outdoor Voice’s board in 2017, a role in which he was expected to draw on his wide-ranging experience in the retail sector to help scale the company.

However, the retail veteran’s approach quickly entered into conflict with the young, female-led start-up’s philosophy and particularly with the vision of its CEO. Drexler stepped down as chairman in 2019 but continues to serve on the company’s board.

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