An outstanding piece by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Vivek Wadhwa:
They trusted Theranos relying upon the brand value of the gilded names promoted by Theranos as its governance oversight, presuming somebody truly conducted some genuine diligent reviews. These names included such diplomatic and military titans such as two former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former U.S. senators; Sam Nunn and Bill Frist, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry and – surprisingly – the tough-minded former CEO of Wells Fargo Richard Kovacevich. Didn’t Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and her executive team realize that they were risking lives by using unproven and faulty equipment? Didn’t the all-star board ask tough questions about the workings of the technology? Didn’t they understand that ethics is a slippery slope; that once you compromise on this, there is no turning back?Sadly, we have seen too much of this in the technology world — ethical lapses and lack of disclosure to shareholders.
Sonnenfeld and Wadhwa recommend a “team of rivals” approach to resist media glitz and welcome dissent — and a reminder that all board members are fiduciaries.