Shoppers are abandoning Wayfair, even after CEO resigns
Wayfair CEO Rana El-Abbadi resigned today after a board investigation into a $13.7 million embezzlement of company funds over the past ten years.
El-Abbadi, a Saudi native, was scheduled to step down as he was under consideration for the job of U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. (She would eventually be confirmed.)
Wayfair CEO Rana El-Abbadi
In a press release issued by the company’s CEO, El-Abbadi said he was leaving because “I believe that the best choice for the future of Wayfair is to remain independent and continue to provide innovative products and services.”
El-Abbadi had been Wayfair’s CEO since 2013. He joined the company as CEO in 2013 when it was still a privately held firm with employees only, instead of a publicly held company after the founders sold to private equity firm Blackstone in 2012.
El-Abbadi rose to notoriety after it was made public that he had been embezzling more than $1 million over ten years while running the company as CEO.
The public announcement from Wayfair followed a fourfold increase in the shares of the publicly held company, raising more than $1.1 billion.
The news of CEO El-Abbadi’s departure came as a shock to many in the community, and it shook the board.
“Rana has done a great job leading Wayfair through the most difficult and confusing time in the company’s history,” said Brian Cornell, board member and founder of The Collective, which represents 1,600 online publishers and developers. “I will miss Rana, who has created a business that feels as much like a family as any I’ve ever encountered.”
Wayfair board member Chris Ward, who had sat