Big Story 10

Hampton Creek's entire board quits except for CEO: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - At least five directors have left the board of U.S. food startup Hampton Creek Inc, leaving co-founder and Chief Executive Josh Tetrick the only remaining board member, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The directors departed following disagreements with Tetrick, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

“Ensuring our employees maintain their ability to direct our mission is as critical as the technologies we deploy and the products we launch. We will always protect this principle,” Tetrick said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“We continue to fully support Hampton Creek and its CEO Josh in their exciting and important mission to change the food industry for the better of all people. We will advise Josh and the team on strategies across all areas of its business moving forward,” a spokesman on behalf of the board said in a statement.

The board departures include Bon Appétit Management Co CEO Fedele Bauccio, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul and Bart Swanson, who represented Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, Bloomberg reported.

San Francisco-based Hampton Creek, founded in 2011, has faced a string of controversies since last year including a report showing the company quietly bought back its own products from supermarkets, which prompted federal inquiries that concluded without finding wrongdoing, according to Bloomberg.

Retailer Target Corp said last month it would start removing Hampton Creek products from its stores, citing allegations of food safety concerns, Bloomberg reported.

Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli and Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar