Elizabeth Holmes on the Theranos Controversy: “I Feel Devastated”

by Daniel Barna

Elizabeth Holmes is done hiding. The Theranos CEO has finally addressed the firestorm of controversy that’s engulfed her multi-billion-dollar blood-testing startup, after The Wall Street Journal reported that officials were considering imposing a two-year ban on Holmes and the company’s president, Sunny Balwani, over perceived lab deficiencies.

“I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster,” Holmes said while appearing on The Today Show on Monday.

Holmes—whose reputation as the youngest self-made female billionaire has made her an inspiration to women everywhere—also said that her company is working with regulators to address issues that range from the inefficiency of the firm’s “nanoprick” blood-testing technology to allegations that members of its board are unqualified to hold such positions.

To Holmes’s credit, she refused to hide behind a high-priced PR team or direct the blame elsewhere. “I’m the founder and CEO of this company,” she said. “Anything that happens in this company is my responsibility at the end of the day.”

Holmes also explained that the hardest part throughout the ordeal is the knowledge that these problems should have been fixed at the outset. When asked why she didn’t, Holmes replied, “I thought we did.”

When asked if her company can bounce back, Holmes was optimistic: “We stopped testing and have taken the approach of saying, ‘Let’s rebuild this entire laboratory from scratch so that we can ensure this never happens again.’”

Do you think Holmes will be accepted back into the industry? For more stories from female entrepreneurs, pick up a copy of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS.  

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