The way Theranos reportedly reacted to the suicide of its chief scientist was unbelievably cold


Elizabeth Holmes

While dealing with the death of an employee is likely an incredibly difficult task, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ reported reaction to the suicide of one of her first hires was particularly unusual.

That’s according to an October 2016 feature story by Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton, who detailed the rise and fall of the blood-testing company.

In the piece, Bilton describes what happened to Ian Gibbons, one of Holmes’ first hires at Theranos.

Gibbons, who was named chief scientist by Holmes in 2005, had grown increasingly vocal about the inaccuracies of Theranos’ technology, according to Vanity Fair.

In May 2013, Gibbons received a phone call and was told Holmes wanted to meet with him the next day. Fearing he was about to be fired, Gibbons attempted to kill himself, according to Vanity Fair.

When Gibbons died a week later, Holmes’ reaction was cold, according to Gibbons’ wife, Rochelle. Here’s how Vanity Fair tells it:

“When Rochelle called Holmes’s office to explain what had happened, the secretary was devastated and offered her sincere condolences. She told Rochelle Gibbons that she would let Holmes know immediately. But a few hours later, rather than a condolence message from Holmes, Rochelle instead received a phone call from someone at Theranos demanding that she immediately return any and all confidential Theranos property.”

The full story on Holmes — and the myriad issues within the company — is worth the read, so head over to Vanity Fair for more.

You can also now watch Alex Gibney’s documentary on Holmes and Theranos, “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” on HBO and video on demand.

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