Zenefits Board of Directors (B)

Case Solution

Lynn Sharp Paine, Will Hurwitz
Harvard Business School ()

In early 2018, the time seemed to have come for Zenefits investor and director Lars Dalgaard to consider whether Zenefits had the right board of directors to accompany the company through the next phases of growth. The last few years have not been entirely Zen for the company, whose name is derived from the words “benefits”, which reflect its HR Technology products, and “zen”, loosely defined as a state of calm. Once hailed as one of the fastest growing software startups of all time, the 5-year-old quickly rose to “unicorn” status, a term used by an elite handful of $ 1 billion private startups. or more. But the leadership and legal issues that emerged in 2015 threatened to undermine its success, forcing Zenefits to appoint new board members, hire new leaders, reformulate its business model and change its corporate culture and philosophy. With these changes, Dalgaard turned his attention back to the board of directors. Did Zenefits have the board it needed to tackle the next stages of growth, distance itself further from its rocky past, and focus on its future potential?

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