‘The toxicity you introduced into the workplace ends now’: A health-tech startup just ousted its founder for treating employees poorly

Ron Gutman TED

A health-tech startup backed by top Silicon Valley VCs has fired its co-founder and CEO after allegedly treating his employees poorly.

HealthTap, a health-tech startup working to provide health advice by connecting doctors to patients, has raised tens of millions in venture backing from Khosla Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and others. Its board replaced its CEO Ron Gutman with tech veteran Bill Gossman, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

“After receiving concerning reports by employees about Ron’s conduct as CEO, the Board of Directors hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into these allegations,” the board wrote in a memo to employees obtained by Recode. “What we learned left us with no choice but to make this change, and we did so after taking the necessary steps from a corporate governance perspective.”

In a letter to Gutman also obtained by Recode, the board said that the behaviour led to his firing. “The toxicity you introduced into the workplace ends now,” it said.

Gutman, for his part, told Recode that the allegations were “not true,” and that the board’s actions were “harmful.”

“We believe Bill is the right person to lead HealthTap into a new stage of growth and productivity,” HealthTap board member Tim Chang and Mayfield partner said in a statement Tuesday.