Audrey Gelman, the beleaguered cofounder and CEO of women’s co-working space the Wing, announced her departure today. In an email to the company, Gelman said that this is “the right thing for the business.”
It’s been a rough spring for the Wing, which shot to it biz status in under four years by positioning itself as a glittery boys’ club for women. After the pandemic made sharing indoor space unadvisable, the Wing reported losing 95% of its revenues, closed its 11 locations, and in April laid off or furloughed most of its 475 staffers.
Pre-pandemic, the Wing had raised over $100 million from backers including Sequoia Capital, though it also faced a series of growing pains and bad press, including conflict over whether male guests should be allowed, racial tensions, and subpar handling of employee benefits such as maternity leave. Gelman herself penned a mea culpa article for Fast Company in February.
Criticism of the Wing resurfaced in the wake of George Floyd’s death and a subsequent reexamination of discriminatory workplace cultures at many organizations, with some Twitter threads from former employees going viral this week.
In a statement, the Wing confirmed Gelman’s departure and said that over the short term, her spot will be filled by an “office of the CEO,” which will be staffed by SVP of marketing and communications Celestine Maddy, cofounder and chief operating officer Lauren Kassan, and senior vice president for operations Ashley Peterson.