Hampton Creek, Now a Unicorn, Shakes Up Management Team
Hampton Creek, the plant-based food startup known for its egg-free Just Mayo spread, has added several new executives to its leadership amid a wave of departures.
The shakeup comes several months after the company closed a round of funding that valued it at $1.1 billion, giving it coveted “unicorn” status. (Hampton Creek declined to disclose the size of the round, which closed in August, as well as participating investors.)
Chief executive Josh Tetrick told Fortune the valuation news, which the company had yet to confirm, in an interview on Monday. Bloomberg had previously reported that Hampton Creek has been trying to raise about $200 million at a $1.1 billion valuation.
Hampton Creek’s recent departures—three executives and three non-executives—include Axel Martinez, the company’s CFO, who later this month will be replaced by Erez Simha. Simha will join the San Francisco-based company in a newly created joint CFO and COO position. He previously held the same title at 3D-printing companies Objet and later Stratasys after the companies merged.
The management changes and valuation news come as Hampton Creek emerges from a tense and controversial period in its history. The company was under fire after reports last year from Bloomberg that it “undertook a large-scale operation to buy back its own mayo, which made the product appear more popular than it really was”—leading to inquiries from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. Fortune learned in March that the regulators had closed their inquiries.
Other new hires include Beverley Chadwick, formerly of private-equity backed Corsair Components and SquareTrade, who took on the new role of Vice President of Finance in March. That same month Luis Espinoza became VP of manufacturing, also a new position. He was previously at organic food company Amy’s Kitchen, where he scaled manufacturing operations.
These additions to the team are on top of the hiring of Brian Irving last fall, who joined as chief marketing and revenue officer from Airbnb, where he was global marketing director. Irving has brought on VP of retail partnerships Matt Riley and VP of foodservice partnerships Alan Weiner, both of whom have deep food industry experience.
Tetrick said he was looking for people with discipline and operating focus who have “experience in the granular boring details of what it takes to operate in the midst of uncertainty.” He said he also wanted people who are “very resilient”—a nod to the recent turmoil at the company.