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The employees of Theranos have trouble leaving the scandal behind



Welcome to the life of Theranos.

At its peak in 2014, the startup for blood testing was a darling of Silicon Valley. Theranos was reported to have valued at $ 9 billion, a retail partnership with Walgreens, and a board of political heavyweights such as Henry Kissinger and George Schultz. Hundreds of employees joined the company to fulfill the ambitious task of creating a cheaper and more efficient alternative to traditional medical testing.

Today, some of these employees are still trying for a wrong reason to move to a company that is now a household name. These efforts can be hampered by Hollywood's interest in the story, including a new HBO documentary This month, the Theranos scandal continues to be the focus of public attention.

While some former Theranos employees have landed at leading tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon, others are in a state of abeyance, spending months or even years trying to find new jobs with the company's mark on their resumes to back up.

  HBO Theranos documentation goes into the mysterious, failed company

positions in certain departments according to surveys with external recruiter and seven former employees. Most of the former employees spoke with CNN Business on condition of anonymity due to concerns about ongoing litigation or a public connection of their names with the company.

A former Theranos employee recalled a lunch with a recruiter who had hired him from a former employee job. The recruiter told him he was "the most qualified candidate" before adding "except this one". Then the recruiter put a thumb over the word "Theranos" on the copy of his resume sitting on the table. Since then, the former employee has been rejected for several jobs and is still looking for .

Others who have been interested in companies are still reluctant to take their next steps. Janina Dong, a former recruiting manager at Theranos, who left in 2017, has so far opted to consult rather than full-time employment. Part of the reason, she says, is "because I'm considering my own assessment," where to work after not seeing Theranos as it was.

"I think many of us were in denial"

Much of the past attention has rightly focused on the way that Theranos and Holmes infatuated investors and patients, whose health was at stake. But some former employees say they too have been left in the dark, both in terms of the technology's feasibility and the company's financial health.

This case may be more difficult for those who work longer hours, climb higher, or stay in the business for a long time after the first reports raise concerns about their technology. In the summer of 2016, months after the Wall Street Journal's first report and more than a decade after the company was founded, Theranos employed between 700 and 900 people.
  Sam Wholley, partner of recruitment agency Riviera Partners, says he was told that it would not be possible to hire a Theranos employee, even if he or she

Explanations and justifications differ among the employees who have been there for years.

"They really kept people in their own little bubbles," said the former employee, who was rejected for several jobs. "I think many of us were in disapproval," said another former employee who continued to work in the company after the story of the Wall Street Journal. "I know that I was to some extent."

This false belief in Theranos has some personal and professional costs. A former employee said that the stress of the company's entire media review has led to burnout.

"I set off six months after release to overcome this," she said. "I was exhausted, emotionally and physically." The employee, who has since taken on a new job, admits that this time was a luxury most could not have had.

Another former employee described working with a young startup just to split up after being told that his Theranos pedigree could make it harder for the company to raise money. The former employee is now looking for "new career opportunities" outside his area of ​​expertise after he has hit a "roadblock" while seeking a job.

"These doors are now closed," the former employee said. "It's just unhappy."

"Obviously, there is skepticism," said Sam Wholley, a partner of recruiting company Riviera Partners, which works with technology companies such as Uber and WeWork. At some point, Wholley said he heard from a company that a Theranos employee was "the best person in the world" and could not hire him or her anyway. The reason he summed up the company's thinking, "My board would kill me."

CNN Business turned to a dozen tech and biotech companies for their views on hiring former Theranos employees. Several companies, including Verily, Alphabet's Life Sciences division and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, have stated that they do not have any formal or informal policies that prohibit a person's attitude to Theranos in their resume.

  The Theranos Laboratory in San Francisco, April 12, 2015

However, employees are still aware of the impact of their work with Theranos can cause. Patrick O'Neill, former Chief Creative Officer of Theranos from 2014 to 2017, said he had taken most of his promotional activities for the company from his professional website. "If you put it out for public consumption, that could lead to much criticism," he said. "[Theranos] has hurt many people."

Last March, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Theranos and Holmes with "massive fraud," inflicting more than $ 700 million on investors. The SEC accused Holmes and Theranos of "deceiving" investors and the media that the wearable blood analyzer "could perform extensive blood tests with finger drops of blood and revolutionize the blood testing industry," even though he can "only complete a small number" of tests.
Holmes signed off with the SEC and agreed to pay a fine and give up her voting rights control over Theranos, but she and the company did not commit misconduct, and three months later Holmes was charged on suspicion of wiring the Bundesbank and resigned She was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment and is still the subject of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice.

A lawyer for Elizabeth Holmes declined to comment on this story The lawyer of Theranos did not respond to several calls for comment.

The Long Waiting for a Change in Public Opinion

Many people who are now there worked hope to go public talking about the companies Just drop by.

The former employee, who was given the recruiter's sobering recital, recalls reading Bad Blood, the definitive book on Theranos by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou when he first read Time to market came out last May.

"First, I searched for my name," he said. "And I was not happy in the book."

  Patrick O? Neil, the former Chief Creative Officer of Theranos, says he has removed most of his promotional activities for the company from his professional website.

Since then, there has been a 60-minute segment on Theranos, a podcast on ABC, and the upcoming Alex Gibney documentary on HBO's "The Inventor." Get out on blood. "Actress Jennifer Lawrence is also expected to play as Holmes in a Bad Blood-based movie. (CNN and HBO share the parent company WarnerMedia.)

"I have friends who call me weekly and say, 'You should be happy that you were not in this podcast,' said the former employee, referring to him [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theranos]

The former employee said that every time there is a new media event about Theranos, there is a feeling of "fear." "You do not really want to remember all that. Most of it is quite depressing. "

This may also effect the extension which calls Wholley, the recruiter, a" cooling-off phase. "Before public perception began in a company like Theranos and the people who worked there, changed, that begins to change. If this ever happens. "

" I would expect it to be years – a few years, "said Wholley, but when he says," If you were a senior Enron employee … and since then you has six jobs, someone will look at your CV and think about it. "


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