News: CEO suspended for flaunting wealth while failing to pay workers

Compensation & Benefits

CEO suspended for flaunting wealth while failing to pay workers

Chris Kirchner, CEO of tech startup, was benched amid a flurry of accusations regarding financial transparency.
CEO suspended for flaunting wealth while failing to pay workers

Tech startup has suspended its CEO, Chris Kirchner, for allegedly not paying employees for months despite living a lavish lifestyle himself.

The Goldman Sachs-backed company made the announcement this week during a virtual all-hands meeting with employees. According to Forbes, Slync’s Chief of Staff Tim Kehoe will take over as interim president. He will report directly to the company’s board.

When asked about the suspension, Slync’s officers refused to make any further comments.

“We don’t comment on people who are still with us, whether they are suspended or not. That’s all we can say at this point,” Burt White, VP for sales, marketing, and customer success, said.

“Slync’s got a great future. With Chris, it is what is, but I can’t talk about current employees.”

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Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest investors of Slync, confirmed Kirchner’s suspension but did not elaborate on the incident. 

“We take our responsibility as board members and investors very seriously, as we’ve always done,” Mary Athridge, a spokesperson for the investment firm, pointed out.

Athridge said Goldman Sachs, along with other investors, will provide additional capital this week to help resolve Slync’s payroll issue. However, she did not mention just how much money will be given. Forbes said the company’s outstanding payroll was valued at about US$4m.  

Slync’s CEO problems

Last week, Forbes published an article about financial misrepresentations that Kirchner allegedly made to Slync’s board. He also fired several executives who had raised their concern about the lack of financial transparency. The board reportedly did not take any action regarding the firings.

The Forbes report also revealed Kirchners’ wealthy lifestyle, which involved flying around the world on a private jet to play in exclusive golf tournaments, hobnobbing with golf legends, and boasting about his plan to buy English football team Derby County. All of this happened while around 100 of Slync’s workers in the US still haven’t received their salaries for almost two months.

Kirchners’s expensive pursuits along with his apparent lack of concern about his staff’s plight has drawn criticism from the company’s current and former workers.

Read more: Top 10 highest paid CEOs in Australia

“I can’t even articulate it,” a current Slync worker told Forbes. “He’s jetting around, playing on team Slync with our name, on the company’s dime.”

“The lifestyle that he was living just didn’t seem real,” a former employee said.

Meanwhile, another ex- former Slync staff said they did not know the company was “a business so much as it was a kleptocracy”.

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Topics: Compensation & Benefits, Leadership, C-Suite

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