Silicon Valley Community Foundation Chief Ousted Over Harassment Allegations
The CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the world’s largest community foundation, has been pushed out following investigations into allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace.
CEO Emmett Carson has been removed from his role of over a decade for fostering a toxic work environment that included widespread use of racial and sexual comments, berating and bullying tactics, and for his role in failing to provide a safe and inclusive workplace.
In recent months, the foundation has been plagued by resignation of multiple executives, including a top fundraiser as well as the SVCF’s chief of human resources and its vice president of talent, recruitment and culture.
As of the end of 2017, its tenth year in operation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation oversaw $13.5 billion in assets. Since 2007, the foundation has awarded more than $5.6 billion in grants to groups locally and around the globe.
Prominent donors include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, GoPro founders Nicholas and Jill Woodman, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, physician Priscilla Chan.
Attorneys from the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner, hired by the foundation’s board as independent counsel to oversee the investigation, said they interviewed 82 people. Based on those interviews, the final report noted numerous issues with the workplace environment at the SVCF. “These included sexual, racial, crude, and otherwise inappropriate remarks and conduct that became ‘normalized’ within certain divisions, as well as public shaming and bullying behavior exhibited at times by certain former SVCF executives,” the report states.
Silicon Valley investor Greg Avis, who has been acting as SVCF’s CEO since Carson was placed on administrative leave in April, will continue as interim chief executive until a replacement is found.