Moving beyond ‘sex in the stairwells’: Zenefits CEO spills about cleaning up the company

When Zenefits’ CEO took the stage Tuesday, the moderator dove right into the hard questions.

How could you not have known that Zenefits insurance brokers didn’t have the proper licenses?

David Sacks, who took over in the midst of the scandal after former CEO Parker Conrad was ousted, insisted he had no idea. When he found out, he self-reported on the problems to regulators, and did some major housecleaning. Investigators even went through executives’ email to determine who knew about the scheme to falsify licensing requirements.

“We completely cleaned it up to the point now where we’re being praised by regulators,” Sacks told the audience Tuesday at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference.

But Sacks bristled when asked about company culture, including the notorious internal email reportedly admonishing Zenefits employees for having sex in company stairwells.

“A lot of the stuff was obviously the media getting carried away,” Sacks said Tuesday. “That was not something that happened. That story — there was no truth to it at all.”

But he acknowledged that the company culture has evolved over the past six or seven months. For one, Zenefits has downsized from about 1,450 employees when Sacks took over, to about 900 today, he said, adding that the size now is more manageable.

“I think the company has really grown up and changed,” Sacks said, “and it’s really a new Zenefits.”

Photo: David Sacks, CEO of Zenefits. (Zenefits)


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