Elizabeth Holmes explains why she fired herself as CEO of Theranos, the company she founded

For anyone keeping track, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, was fired last week by the company she founded for “repeatedly misleading investors.”

Founded a decade ago, Theranos grew rapidly. By 2016, even making headlines, with Theranos on track to sell $400 million in medical devices within a year, and making $985 million in sales in that same time period.

By 2018, even then a company was setting records, but Holmes’s company was just about out of money and was finally losing its legitimacy for the tech community. Three executives at Theranos have been criminally charged in 2018, according to Reuters.

Holmes has said she is responsible for the company’s early and rapid growth, according to Fortune. “I personally did so many things, from leading the company’s growth, engaging with the press, to setting the company up to build and eventually build the first of what we expected to be 100 different Blood Lab Machines at each clinical lab site.”

“To accomplish these things, my senior leadership team and I relied on a solid understanding of Theranos as an intelligence-based company, and ourselves as both ‘realists’ and ‘blah-yellers,’” she says. “I also relied on our core values of grit, humor, accuracy, accountability, integrity, initiative, reliability, and teamwork.”

“At the same time,” she continues, “we relied on science, entrepreneurship, and, above all, curiosity to take questions seriously. We engaged our customers by reflecting them first and thinking like them first. We generated enormous amounts of exciting ideas in the early days. They were often the ones that made us smarter and became the foundation for developing new products, including the world’s first blood testing system on a single drop of blood. I truly believed that ‘wondering’ together and thinking about solving problems together would allow Theranos to solve our biggest challenges, and create the first era of an era that benefits from the third industrial revolution.

“As a result, one of my toughest moments as CEO was thinking about our many disappointed customers when the true extent of the problems was just beginning to become apparent to us, our teams, and everyone involved in the company. Our team felt that this was our toughest moment. That was a false perception. Theranos’s management team and I felt that this is the greatest challenge in terms of how we would bring Theranos back from the brink.”

“I made no excuses for our past problems, and our third CEO is absolutely committed to taking full responsibility for the company’s mistakes and the steps necessary to fix them,” Holmes says. “When I spoke with my management team, I was clear and direct. I also made sure to communicate that if we are going to change our leadership, we are also going to change how we think to help our customers and empower Theranos. My one request is to be kept informed as to how the process is going, and to give me every ounce of insight necessary to drive the ongoing process of change and growth.”

Stay tuned.

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