Hampton Creek, the infamous start-up behind vegan condiment Just Mayo that once asked its employees to go out and buy the company’s own product, is facing more bad news. According to a new report from Bloomberg, just about every member of the company’s board of directors has resigned. The only member remaining is Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek’s co-founder and CEO. Many of the resignations, five in total, happened in the last month and were directly tied to tense relationships between Tetrick and the other members, Bloomberg reports.
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 and Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul, said the people. Bart Swanson, who represented Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, also left. Lynne Benioff, the wife of Salesforce.com Inc.’s chief executive officer, stepped down from the board last year.
A representative from Hampton Creek told Select All that the board members in question “recently transitioned to advisory roles,” and provided a statement from Tetrick. “Ensuring our employees maintain their ability to direct our mission is as critical as the technologies we deploy and the products we launch. We will always protect this principle,” Tetrick said. The company also provided a joint statement from its board. “We 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. We will advise Josh and the team on strategies across all areas of its business moving forward.”
Earlier this year, Hampton Creek announced that it plans to sell lab-grown meat products by 2018. Other competitors in the “clean meat” space have estimated 2020 or 2021 as the earliest that could be possible, so Tetrick’s goal seems, um, lofty. Around the same time, Target stores around the country pulled the company’s products from their shelves, citing possible contamination and mislabeling. It seems that while the products might be egg-free — emphasis on might — over at Hampton Creek, the company is still far from being drama-free.
Update, July 18, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.: This post has been updated to include statements from Josh Tetrick and Hampton Creek.