Kiwi Camara, the youngest-ever Harvard Law graduate and founder of legal tech firm CS Disco, made headlines last week with his unexpected resignation, relinquishing an estimated $110 million pay package.
The departure, however, takes a darker turn as reports from the Wall Street Journal claim that Camara was ousted amid allegations of sexual misconduct. It is alleged that he groped a young female employee and engaged in disturbing behavior, including forcibly shoving roasted meat into her face during a dinner.
CS Disco initially downplayed Camara’s resignation, stating it was unrelated to any operational or policy disagreements. However, the WSJ has since reported on a troubling series of misconduct allegations, with company sources telling the newspaper that the board is investigating accusations of sexual assault against a female staffer during a company dinner on September 6.
Former and current employees have described a pattern of behavior involving alcohol-fueled social events hosted by the CEO. On the evening in question, Camara reportedly encouraged employees to consume tequila shots during a happy hour before inviting a select group to dinner.
Witnesses claim he aggressively pushed food into the face of a young female worker, insisting she eat it “like an animal” and also groped her.
Witnesses also told the WSJ that Camara attempted to persuade the visibly uncomfortable employee to return to his condo. Staffers promptly reported the incident to CS Disco’s head of human resources, and it’s not the first time such complaints have arisen.
Last year, concerns about Camara’s behavior towards female staff, including hiring practices, social gatherings, and inappropriate comments, were allegedly submitted to the company’s ethics hotline. These allegations were investigated, but the outcomes remain undisclosed.
Neither CS Disco nor Camara responded to Fortune’s request for comment.
Additional accusations suggest that Camara had a troubling approach to hiring female receptionists based on their appearance and pressured young employees in the Emerging Leader Rotational Program into socializing. Some likened the experience to the TV show “Love Island.”
A former ELRP associate told WSJ that Camara used his position of power to pressure the young staffers into conforming: “He’d say stuff like, ‘I’ll fire you if you don’t do things my way.’”
Who is Kiwi Camara?
The Philippines-born tech chief graduated from Harvard Law School at just 19 years old, having left high school at 14 and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a degree in computer science at 16.
Even then, his studies were marred by misconduct. In his first year at Harvard Law in 2002, he made a racist remark which, according to Camara, followed him when entering the world of work and resulted in him being turned down by major law firms.
So Camara set up his own law firm, Camara & Sibley, with his classmate Joe Sibley, before founding CS Disco in 2013—all before he’d even hit 30 years old.
The company which uses new technologies, like artificial intelligence, to help lawyers sift through documents and identify potential evidence went on to hire hundreds of employees, whom Camara referred to as “Discovians”.
In July 2021, CS Disco debuted on the New York Stock Exchange and although it’s stock has performed poorly since then, Camara has become one of the wealthiest CEOs in the world.
Last year, the ousted chief earned $110 million, making him just one of just nine leaders to outearn Apple’s Tim Cook.
CEO misconduct on the rise
If it feels like the number of CEOs making headlines for all the wrong reasons is on the rise, that’s because it is.
Research shows that the number of ousted executives is growing as the #metoo movement influences the standards to which we hold leaders in the corporate world.
Data from Exechange.com, which has tracked CEO departures for companies in the Russell 3000 stock index since the start of 2017, shows that misconduct-related exits are rare but on the rise.
Meanwhile, last year, half of the forced CEO departures among the 3,000 largest US companies were due to personal misconduct, up from 14% in 2017, according to the Conference Board.
Just yesterday, Cboe Global Markets’ CEO and chairman, Edward Tilly joined BP’s Bernard Looney and CNN’s Jeff Zucker in the growing list of leaders to be forced out for undisclosed relationships with colleagues.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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