Hampton Creek’s CEO, Josh Tetrick, was already well-known for his uncontested reign of his darling vegan enterprise, but last week, things came to a head when the entire board of directors stepped down, leaving him to redefine the strategy going forward.
The talent lost is not minor. Departures include former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, and Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul as well as Bon Appétit Management co-founder and CEO Fedele Bauccio. This follows the exits of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, representative Bart Swanson, and Lynne Benioff, wife of Salesforce.com CEO, Marc Benioff.
Tetrick and the company tried to frame the exits as an attempt to get employees to go in the right direction, but from the mass exits, that’s not exactly the case. “Ensuring our employees maintain their ability to direct our mission is as critical as the technologies we deploy and the products we launch,” said Hampton Creek’s CEO in a emailed statement, cited by Bloomberg.
This year has been a tumultuous one for the startup. In April, Hampton Creek fired its CFO, head of operations, and head of HR after the company struggled to raise funds, raising only $7 million of a $150 million goal. Not long after that, three top executives try to coup Tetrick so he wouldn’t be in control of the company; they were fired instead.
But don’t count Hampton Creek out yet as Tetrick could still have a shot at making a comeback. “We continue to fully support Hampton Creek and its CEO Josh in their exciting and important mission to change the food industry for the better of all people. We will advise Josh and the team on strategies across all areas of its business moving forward,” wrote the departing board members in an e-mail, cited by FastCompany.
Josh Tetrick has yet to announce his plan for moving forward.
Marco Islas for TechFunnel.com