The Iconic co-founder Finn Haensel reveals why he held off quitting, until now

The Iconic co-founder Finn Haensel is leaving the business two years after launching it, revealing that he put off resigning following a flood of mixed press about the business.

German-born Haensel will leave the online fashion retailer within the next two weeks, returning to live in Germany to spend time with his family. He has worked in Australia for four years, and co-founded the Australian division of The Iconic two years ago.

“It was a tough decision”, he told SmartCompany this morning. “I went home over Christmas and saw my parents, my dad is 72 and retired, and I want to spend time with them.”

Haensel says he made the decision to return to Germany “around Easter” this year and mentioned his plans to investors at the time. However, he says he held off his move after all of the media coverage surrounding a $28 million cash injection into the business and also retrenchments.

He says the company realised they were “not the darling of the public anymore” with all the mixed reports.

“It’s the reason I stayed on so long”, he says, explaining that he didn’t want his departure adding to the flux of stories.

Haensel says he confirmed his decision last week, and informed his team via email on Monday this week. He says they reacted with “surprise and sadness”.

In the email, with the subject line ‘Back to Europe’, Haensel said:

“As many of you know, it was a personal decision that I only wanted to be in Australia for an additional 1-2 years. However, for me it was especially important that I leave the company at the right time. That time is now, when we are in a phase of strength with our recent investment, our new TV campaign and the right leadership in place for transition.”

Haensel says he will remain an investor in The Iconic, and after a holiday period says a “logical” move would be to work for German-based Rocket Internet headquarters, owners of The Iconic.

Amy Lodge has been appointed to take care of marketing and digital operations in Haensel’s place. He will spend the next two weeks handing over the role.

Haensel says he was “not concerned about the business”, and was leaving it at a “good stage”.

Earlier this year, The Iconic received a $28 million cash injection from Rocket Internet.

The investment came at a challenging time for the business, with co-founder Adam Jacobs revealing to The Australian Financial Review that the company had retrenched around 10% of its 300 staff, while other reports claimed the business had lost over $40 million.

It has received approximately $78 million in investments over the past two years.


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