2014 was a big year for Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso: She published a bestselling book (and a widely used hashtag) and opened the retailer's first brick-and-mortar location in Los Angeles. But in 2015, the 30-year-old who took Nasty Gal from an Ebay shop to a global e-commerce company with over $100 million in revenue (without any fashion or business experience, mind you), has decided to take a step back. Amoruso announced Monday that she has stepped down as CEO of the company, promoting President Sheree Waterson to the role.
However, Amoruso, who has become the face of the brand in addition to running it, isn't going anywhere: She'll stay on full-time as an executive chairman, and remain on the company's board. According to a press release, she will oversee the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.
Waterson, formerly the chief product officer of Lululemon, joined Nasty Gal last year after the activewear company's see-through pants snafu. (Things sure worked out surprisingly well for her, didn't they?) At Nasty Gal, Waterson played an integral role in opening the brand's first brick-and-mortar store, and plans to continue to focus on expanding its retail presence. "In the past 11 months alone, we have already seen the impacts of Sheree’s strategic thinking and approach in our product offering and experience," said Amoruso in a statement. "She has established herself as an inspiring leader here at Nasty Gal and I am confident in her ability to execute on our vision."
Waterson was one of several experienced executives Amoruso hired in late 2013/early 2014 to help expand her business, including a chief financial officer from Ideeli, and a senior vice president of creative from Sephora.
Strangely, Amoruso is not the only founder of an e-commerce company that stepped down as CEO Monday. ModCloth's Eric Koger, who founded the company with his then-girlfriend (now-wife) Susan in 2002, has handed over the reins to Matthew A. Kaness, most recently the chief strategy officer of Urban Outfitters, Inc.
Both companies started small and expanded rapidly -- perhaps more rapidly than their founders could have imagined -- and reached a point that required someone more experienced to sustain and continue that growth. These are two brands we'll be keeping our eyes on in 2015.