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Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel in hot water over alleged comment maligning India

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Evan Spiegel

Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — During a 2015 meeting to discuss Snapchat’s creative growth, Anthony Pompliano says he expressed concern that the app was not taking off overseas. Pompliano, who had just been recruited away from Facebook to join the company, insists that he presented ample methods to address the issue, but that Evan Spiegel, the company’s chief executive, abruptly cut him off.

“This app is only for rich people,” Spiegel said, according to Pompliano. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”

Pompliano’s allegations were revealed in a recently filed lawsuit, filed in redacted form in L.A. Superior Court in January. On Monday, Snap Inc. — the parent company of Snapchat — dropped its efforts to keep the unredacted complaint under seal and released it in a public filing. In the suit, Pompliano tells the story of his brief three-week tenure with the company, during which he says he learned that the company was exaggerated its user data and that top executives were “completely misinformed” about key metrics.

Snapchat had previously argued that Pompliano’s lawsuit contained trade secrets that were capable of damaging the company, and helping its competitors. But in a notice to the court filed earlier this week, Snap said it was dropping the effort to keep the unredacted complaint sealed because it “has nothing to hide” since going public last month. Snap described Pompliano as a “disgruntled employee fired for poor performance” who filed the lawsuit out of thirst for publicity.

“The simple fact is that he knows exactly nothing about Snap’s current metrics,” the company’s attorneys wrote. “He and his lawyers are — not to put too fine a point on matters — just making things up.”

John Pierce, Pompliano’s attorney, said that Snap withdrew its effort to seal the complaint because the company knew it would lose.

“This attempt to save face by Snap should serve as a reminder that no matter how big you are (or how many billions of dollars you have) in our system everyone has to play by the same set of rules,” Pierce said.

Pompliano says Snapchat was inflating its registration completion rate, which it claimed was about 87%. In fact, Pompliano says it was less than 40 percent. The company was also claiming to retain 40 percent of its users after seven days, when in fact the figure was closer to 20 percent, Pompliano claims.

Pompliano says he raised concerns that advertisers were being misled with several people, including Jill Hazelbaker, the vice president of communications. According to the lawsuit, Hazelbaker said she had raised similar concerns internally but had been ignored.

According to the lawsuit, Pompliano brought up the app’s lackluster performance in India and Spain, saying both countries have high mobile penetration and should be ripe for improved growth, at which point Spiegel made the remark about not being interested in “poor countries” and stormed out.

Pompliano claims that Spiegel then met with two other executives and determined that “Mr. Pompliano presented a risk to Snapchat’s IPO.”

Just days later, Pompliano says he was fired, a security guard handed him a box and escorted him out of the building, and his phone was wiped of Snapchat accounts and data.

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Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

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Roma Khanna

Sean Combs Announces Roma Khanna CEO of Revolt TV

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Sean Combs has announced Roma Khanna the CEO of Revolt TV.

“As Revolt continues to grow as a brand and expand globally, I knew we needed a seasoned executive with a proven track record to keep the momentum going and help me lead the network into the future,” said Combs. “Roma is that person. She has the experience and tenacity to build on Revolt’s success and as we continue to influence content and culture around the world.”

“After decades of building large-scale businesses in TV and media, I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside visionary Sean Combs to get hands-on and redefine content models with a view to building a modern, relevant, global cultural brand,” said Khanna. “Revolt is ready to create and curate content and super-serve its audience on its own TV platform and beyond, living and breathing with its audience wherever they might be.”

Revolt says the company’s mission is to build on its platform to offer long- and short-form content revolving around hip-hop music and culture. According to Revolt’s website, “REVOLT is focused on expertly curating the best of the best in music and engaging youth in social conversation – on-air, on-line, on-demand. The multi-genre, multi-platform network offers breaking music news, videos, artist interviews, exclusive performances, and original programming.”

Revolt claims to have over 50 million young adult consumers through television, digital properties, social and mobile. REVOLT is accessible 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Khanna left MGM, where she served as president, in late 2015. She helped launch FX’s “Fargo” and History’s “Vikings.” She spent three years as president of global networks for NBC Universal’s international networks wing. She also oversaw the development of Hulu hit “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Revolt had been without a CEO for a year, since Keith Clinkscales left the company last August. Revolt launched as a linear channel in the U.S. in October 2013 and has since expanded to Africa and the Caribbean.

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Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

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Vas Narasimhan

Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Switzerland-based biotech giant Novartis says Indian American physician Vas Narasimhan will take reins as CEO on Feb. 1.

The 41-year-old Narasimhan joined Novartis in 2005. He currently serves as the company’s Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. He is also a member of Novartis’ Executive Committee.

“Both from a professional and a personal perspective, this is the right moment to hand the leadership reins of the company to Vas,” said current Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “Our strong pipeline and the strategic moves we have taken to focus the company have put Novartis on a strong path for the future. On the personal side, after 10 wonderful years in Switzerland, my family is ready to return to Silicon Valley and the U.S. I’m confident that Vas will be an excellent successor.”

Joerg Reinhardt, chairman of the Novartis board of directors, said the company anticipates “a smooth transition, as Joe built a strong leadership team and mentored his successor.”

Narasimhan graduated from Harvard Medical School. He also has a master’s in public policy from the university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He earned undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago.

Prior to joining Novartis, he worked at McKinsey & Company, first as a consultant and then as an engagement manager.

An elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Narasimhan has held a number of positions at Novartis.

Reinhardt expressed confidence in Narasimhan’s ability to lead the company to “expected next growth phase … The strength of Novartis is our ability to drive science-based innovation. Vas is deeply anchored in medical science, has significant experience in managing the interfaces between Research and Development and commercial units and has strong business acumen with a track record of outstanding achievements. As a physician, he has a strong patient focus and a genuine humane perspective and care for the mission and values of Novartis. As a result, the Board of Directors is confident that Vas is the right choice to lead Novartis on our expected next growth phase, driving innovation and further strengthening our competitive position.”

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Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya to raise $500M for a large fund

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Charmath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Palihapitiya is listed as CEO of “blank check company,” Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings. The company plans to raise $500 million in its IPO and subsequently acquire emerging private businesses that have little incentive to go public.

“Our mission is to create an alternative path to a traditional IPO for disruptive and agile technology companies to achieve their long-term objectives and overcome key deterrents to becoming public,” the filing said.

Palihapitiya has often condemned the traditional venture model and expressed his admiration for billionaire Warren Buffett, who erected Berkshire Hathaway into one of the World’s largest publicly-traded holding companies over a half century.

Social Capital is going to be more like a “bastard stepchild of Berkshire Hathaway and Blackstone and BlackRock” than a traditional venture firm, Palihapitiya said at an event in 2015.

One of Palihapitiya’s goals in the venture is bringing together “technologists, entrepreneurs, and technology-oriented investors,” the filing said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Palihapitiya’s team is planning to meet with investors soon, then initiating the IPO shortly thereafter on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hedosophia has offices in Hong Kong and London. Ian Osborne, CEO of Hedosophia, will be president of the new holding company. Former Skype CEO Tony Bates and former Twitter executive Adam Bain are among the Board members.

Palihapitiya spoke to Diya TV moments after the Warriors championship win in 2017

 

 

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