Holmes reportedly has some strange quirks
Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos CEO and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, in an interview on Sept. 29, 2015 (David Orrell/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images / Getty Images)
Business Insider columnist Adam Lashinsky reacts to scrutiny over the split decision verdict on ‘The Claman Countdown.’
The trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes put on display several false claims made by the one-time Silicon Valley darling during her time leading the tech startup, and it also brought forth some bizarre details about her lifestyle.
Her most obvious quirk when she emerged in the spotlight after dropping out of Stanford University and founding Theranos in 2003 was how she sought to become the next Steve Jobs. She mimicked the late Apple co-founder by wearing signature black turtlenecks every day just as Jobs was once known for, but the obsession didn’t stop there.
The Daily Mail reported that Holmes also adopted Jobs’ green-smoothie vegan diet, filled her office at Theranos with Le Corbusier black leather chairs loved by Jobs, and even hired a security detail to drive her around in a vehicle without license plates in another apparent mimicking of Jobs, who switched out Mercedes leases every six months to avoid having plates.
Multiple former associates of Holmes, including Theranos employees, have come forward suggesting blood-testing technology was not the only thing she was not entirely forthright about — and the press has taken notice, too.
For years, questions swirled about the authenticity of Holmes’ deep baritone voice, with critics claiming it was an act. A former Stanford professor who taught Holmes before she dropped out at 19 told Inside Edition two years ago that as a student, Holmes’ voice was rather high-pitched and that Holmes was clearly faking the deep voice she became known for after founding Theranos.
Former Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, whose investigation into Theranos brought down the company and ultimately Holmes, said in a 2018 interview with the newspaper that a former Theranos employee “caught her slipping out of her baritone, and was really thrown off by that, and realized at that point that she was faking the deep voice.”
Another strange claim about Holmes in recent years came from a Vanity Fair article about her from 2019, in which former Theranos employees told the magazine Holmes repeatedly claimed that her dog, a Husky she named Balto, was actually a wolf.
“In meetings, at cafés, whenever anyone stopped to pet the pup and ask his breed, Holmes soberly replied, ‘He’s a wolf,’” the piece states.
Employees claim the wolf act was another power play along with Holmes’ purported deep voice routine.
Holmes was found guilty by a federal jury Monday on four of 11 criminal fraud charges for duping investors about her health care startup’s technology, which she said would revolutionize health care by diagnosing hundreds of diseases with just a few drops of blood.
Theranos was valued at more than $9 billion at its peak and made Holmes a billionaire on paper before The Wall Street Journal exposed that the technology was failed and it all came crumbly down. She has not yet been sentenced, but could face up to 80 years in prison on the four charges she has been convicted of.