Holmes and the Theranos Affair

Lessons from Theranos for Corporate Governance

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos
Elizabeth Anne Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos

This Holmes was the subject of many investigations and a trial that ended in conviction. She was not just complicit. She was the perpetrator. If the DOB (Directors on Board) did not bark or howl, they were well taken care of. Even if they whined, she charmed her way through. In any case, they seemed keen to add a new generation tech firm to an already impressive list of credentials. They were victims of the promise or illusion of mentoring the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Such a bland assessment would have been kosher for most ordinary Boards. But we have here the likes of George Shultz (1920-2021), former Secretary of State, and also of labour and treasury, best known as the man who ended the cold war. If Shultz was not enough, we have Henry Kissinger (b. 1923), former secretary of state, and William Perry (b. 1927), former secretary of defence. All of them were then, or are now, in their 90s. The Holmes-Theranos affair offers interesting lessons for good corporate governance. Continue reading “Holmes and the Theranos Affair”

The Wirecard Scandal

Germany is not particularly known for corporate scandals. Unlike the USA or UK. Or the rest of Europe. The last big one was Volkswagen. But, one involving Wirecard, the payment processing firm with a global footprint, has been unravelling over the last one week, since Ernst & Young (EY), the company’s auditors, announced that it could not find USD 2.1 billion (Euro 1.9 billion), roughly a quarter of the balance sheet size. This is a first for the DAX, a 30-member index trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Continue reading “The Wirecard Scandal”

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