Mass Exodus at Hampton Creek Leaves CEO Sole Board Member

Hampton Creek Just Mayo
Image care of Hampton Creek

Five directors have departed from the board of Hampton Creek Inc., the San Francisco-based food startup best known for launching a vegan mayonnaise called Just Mayo.

The departures are allegedly due to “deep discord” with CEO Josh Tetrick, reports Bloomberg, however a joint statement provided by the company on behalf of the departing members indicates that they will “continue to fully support Hampton Creek and its CEO Josh in their exciting and important mission to change the food industry for the better of all people.”

Tetrick is the only remaining board member.

Departures include Bon Appétit Management Co. co-founder and CEO Fedele Bauccio, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul, and Bart Swanson, who represented Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. They join Lynne Benioff, the wife of Inc.’s CEO, who left the board last year.

Tetrick had already fired several of his deputies in April, including his chief financial officer, chief operations officer, and human resources chief, and soon after, several top executives left the company voluntarily.

A Hampton Creek spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is currently working on reconstituting the board.

Hampton Creek attracted strong support from venture capitalists from its founding in 2011. A recent round of fundraising valued the company at $1.1 billion, earning it coveted “unicorn status.”

Investors have been wavering, however, in recent years, due to a series of controversies. In 2015, former employees indicated that Hampton Creek had “stretched the truth” when labeling samples, according to Business Insider, and in 2016, a report showing that the company was buying its own products from supermarkets led to an inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, alleged safety concerns last month caused Target to remove the company’s products from its stores.

Hampton Creek had recently announced that it was developing cultured meat and seafood products, also known as clean meat, to be marketed to the public by the end of 2018.

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco