(Bloomberg) -- They’re like lobsters escaping a steamy death. Since Snap Inc.’s March 2017 public listing, at least five vice presidents and the general counsel have left the Los Angeles messaging company. The lawyer who filled the general counsel vacancy was the personal attorney for Snap Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel and a friend of Spiegel’s dad. The lawyer’s previous experience included negotiating with Snap to get Spiegel majority voting power and an IPO stock award, which amounted to $637 million.
My colleague Sarah Frier put it bluntly in her dig into the unrest at Snap, saying Spiegel “prefers executives who don’t challenge his ideas,” according to people she spoke with.
You can see why executives might not want to stick around at Snap. Forget the turbulent stock price—it just seems like an unpleasant place to work. (No bonuses this year!) Spiegel described his management philosophy at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conference last month as keeping things “just below the boil.... Like when you heat water, and it’s really f--king hot, but it’s just below the boil.”
I take all my showers at just below boiling. My morning scalding is so motivating!
But what does executive turnover mean for Snap? It’s probably not good. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had some turnover in the early days, and he has also surrounded himself with loyalists. But at least he succeeded in bringing on qualified executives like Sheryl Sandberg. She has stuck around.
When Spiegel hired Emily White from Instagram, she left after just over a year. Jill Hazelbaker, Snap’s head of PR and policy, stayed for almost exactly one year. Since then, Hazelbaker has stuck it out at Uber. Uber!
Meanwhile, who still works at Snap? The company’s human resources chief, Jason Halbert, who has been the subject of about 10 complaints from employees, according to tech news site the Information. Here’s just one choice excerpt from the story: “During a presentation on employee safety, he went on a tangent about rapists and mass murderers. He likes to discuss how many psychopaths are in the population. He’s mentioned that during military deployments he used sexual fantasies to help him meditate, which brought him to orgasm.”
This is the head of HR.
Snap’s ultimate success probably depends on its product vision more than anything else, and that effort has always seemed pretty tightly controlled by Spiegel and those closest to him. So, any unrest may not bring the company down. Still, it’s hard to believe that a public company whose executive team seems to be getting less professional, not more, is on the right track. There’s a reason people are heading for the exits.
And now, I leave you with David Foster Wallace (PDF): “Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain and wishing to avoid/escape the painful experience.”
And here’s what you need to know in global technology news
Google was sued by a former recruiter—over alleged bias against white and Asian men. The complaint cites “irrefutable policies, memorialized in writing and consistently implemented in practice, of systematically discriminating in favor job applicants who are Hispanic, African American, or female, and against Caucasian and Asian men.”
Overstock.com’s stock fell after an ICO probe. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to “know everything” about the company’s token offering.
Clover Health posted a $22 million loss in 2017. The health insurance provider, backed by Alphabet and lots of other Silicon Valley money, is looking to finally expand beyond its first market in New Jersey.
The latest winner of the SoftBank lottery is DoorDash. The American food delivery app raised a $535 million investment round led by the Japanese firm’s giant tech fund.
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