2019-02-23 —

Yet through [the collapse of Theranos], former employees of the company have told me, Holmes had a bizarre way of acting like nothing was wrong. Even more peculiarly, she appeared happy."The company is falling apart, there are countless indictments piling up, employees are leaving in droves, and Elizabeth is just weirdly chipper," a former senior executive told me. One former board member also noted that Holmes would come to board meetings "chirpy"; and acting as if everything was "great." She would walk up to people in the office who could have just testified in front of the S.E.C., or been questioned by lawyers at the F.D.A., and she would give them a hug and ask how they were doing.


Was she just a young person who got in over her head? Or, more dramatically, is something more serious afoot. Is she a sociopath? "I'll leave it to the psychologists to decide whether Holmes fits the clinical profile," he writes, "but there's no question that her moral compass was badly askew." Former employees raise this question with frequency. One pointed to a formative experience: Holmes's father, Christian, was an executive at Enron, and the family's finances were affected by its collapse. Did Holmes, scarred by this experience, vow to revive the family's fortunes at all cost? Was she a hustler or a con artist, or merely a staggering Mr. Ripley?

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