David Sacks, the new CEO of Zenefits, just announced extensive changes to the company’s leadership team, an important step in his efforts to reshape the company. By adding individuals with backgrounds in the services the company delivers to consumers, this looks to be a move in the right direction.
Previously I’ve criticized Zenefits for a lack of expertise concerning benefits, payroll, or human resources among board members or top executives. While Zenefits is primarily a technology company, the services they deliver–what their customers pay for–are tools to help companies manage these important business operations. That no one among Zenefits most senior leaders had experience in these areas is one reason, I believe, Zenefits faces the problems they do today.
The Zenefits board is still composed only of men with backgrounds in finance and technology. The former executive team, at least those deemed worthy of being listed on their website, shared this narrow expertise, broadened only by the time some of them spent as business consultants. In a post on the company’s blog today, Mr. Sacks announced 14 members of the “new executive team,” three of whom had experience in benefits, payroll or human resources before joining Zenefits:
- Jeff Hazard, VP of Sales and Agency Principal Agent is in charge of all the company’s sellers. Previously Mr. Hazard was a divisional vice president of sales at ADP.
- Colin Rogers, VP of Carrier Relations worked at Accenture Consulting helping develop their Consumer Driven Healthcare practice. He was also at Extend Health (now part of Towers Watson).
- Josh Stein, Chief Compliance Officer served as senior vice president and general counsel at OptumRx, a part of UnitedHealth Group.
It will not be easy for Mr. Sacks to achieve his goal of changing the culture at Zenefits. Expanding his leadership team and include individuals who understand the services the company delivers to customers, however, shows he is serious and off to a promising start.