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The Wing, Rocked by Controversy, Bids Adieu to CEO

Audrey Gelman resigns from the Wing after backlash from employees
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2020 10:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – When the Wing was launched in 2016, it was designed to be a co-working space and social club for women only. Now, CEO and co-founder Audrey Gelman has stepped down, amid accusations the startup doesn't put its feminist and racial equality ideals into practice. "The decision is the right thing for the business and the best way to bring the Wing along into a long overdue era of change," Gelman, 33, said Thursday. "The moment calls for a rethinking of how we meet [women's] needs moving forward and for new leadership that can guide the Wing into the future," the company says, per CNN Business. Among the complaints: discrimination, low pay, and other poor treatment of workers. Tensions ramped up after a series of recent investigative reports into the company, which recently closed its 11 locations and laid off most staff due to the pandemic, per the Wall Street Journal.

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Gelman wrote a February Fast Company op-ed on "where I got it wrong," vowing to "normalize a more honest kind of leadership." Still, her resignation isn't appeasing workers, who say the company needs to do more. Employees began a digital walkout Thursday "in solidarity with so many of our colleagues," organizers said in a statement to CNN, citing leadership's overall "incompetence and lack of accountability." Alex Covington, the company's brand director, weighed in personally. "Simply put, the Wing doesn't practice the intersectional feminism that it preaches to the rest of the world," she tweeted, adding she and other colleagues had put together a list of demands for the company to meet. It's not clear what those demands are. A new "Office of the CEO" will be formed, made up of three other Wing execs. Gelman will remain on the company's board. (Read more resignation stories.)

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