The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Risevest, Mr Eke Urum, has been found guilty of sexual impropriety and abuse of power.
This was the outcome of a six-week investigation into allegations of sexual and non-sexual abuse against the stock investment startup founder.
A statement noted that, “The evidence presented to the panel could not prove sexual assault by Eke Urum. However, the evidence presented to the panel, including admitted sexual relations with an employee and unwanted, inappropriate jokes and conversations revealed sexual impropriety. It also showed a pattern of abuse of power, intimidation, retaliation and workplace bullying by him.”
It was reported by TechCabal that a member of the investigation panel, Toni Tunde-Anjous, said that Mr Urum would not be reinstated as CEO.
Mr Tony Odiba, who is in the acting CEO role, will remain in that capacity until the newly constituted board appoints a new CEO
Mr Urum will transition into a non-executive member of a new board and will lead the startup’s investment strategy and provide guidance on technology.
On his part, the Risevest CEO told the publication in response to the findings of the investigation that he was regretful and promised support for the new CEO.
“As a leader, I have grown a lot over the years and still have a lot of growing to do, which is why I’m going to be taking additional coaching and executive training.
“I regret the distraction that my actions may have caused and fully respect the integrity of the process the Risevest investors and the panel underwent to identify the gaps in our systems and my leadership.”
It took the investigation panel, comprising Odun Longe and Toni Tunde-Anjous, and chaired by Tomi Davies, speaking with almost 60 current and former employees over six weeks to reach a conclusion.
The investigation panel also recommended that a board of directors consisting of Mr Urum, Mr Odiba, two investor representatives, and one independent member approved by both founder and investor groups should be immediately constituted.
The panel called that after the board is formed, the conversion of currently-held (simple agreement for future equity) SAFEs into equity should take place.
Two months ago, it was reported that Mr Urum was asked to step aside by investors at the company, despite owning the largest part of the company, until the end of the investigation by panel members appointed by the investors.
“Following allegations of sexual and non-sexual impropriety from someone who can be reasonably expected to have knowledge of such, investors of Risevest have asked Eke Urum to step aside from his role as founder and CEO and an independent investigation is ongoing,” the company notes.