Scandal-Plagued Exec Leaves Human Longevity

Published: Jul 13, 2018 By

Scandal

Saturnino “Nino” Fanlo, chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Human Longevity (HLI), has left the company. Fanlo was implicated in a scandal at his previous employer, online lender Social Finance (SoFi). The investigation of SoFi focused on its chief executive officer, Mike Cagney, who was accused of sexual improprieties with an executive assistant, Laura Munoz, among many other allegations. A lawsuit was filed against Cagney by former employee Brandon Charles, who alleged SoFi had fired him for reporting bad practices, including sexual harassment, as well as mishandling of loan applications. In the suit, Fanlo was also cited, stating he “made sexual comments at [SoFi’s] San Francisco office, touched women inappriately and made them feel uncomfortable.”

Fanlo, The New York Times wrote, “sometimes kicked trash cans in the office when angry. He also commented on women’s figures, including their breasts; said that women would be happier as homemakers; and once told two female employees he would give them $5,000 if they lost 30 pounds by the end of the year, according to more than a dozen people who heard the comments and witnessed the weight-loss offer.”

Fanlo said the charges were “patently false,” that he did not disrespect women, and that the shouting and kicking of trash cans was related to frustration about deals and start-up pressures.

Prior to SoFi, where Fanlo was chief operating officer and chief financial officer, he was senior advisor at Golden Gate Capital and before that, a partner at KKR. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and treasurer of Wells Fargo and from 1990 to 1995 was vice president of Goldman Sachs. His LinkedIn page has him still employed at Human Longevity, although any mentions of his positions have been removed from the HLI’s website.

In April, HLI let him go and put Scott Sorensen in on an interim basis. Sorensen is HLI’s chief technology officer, who will work with interim chief executive officer David Karow, who previously led HLI’s radiogenomics operation.

The company has had a number of changes in the C-suites, including its chief medical officer, chief operations officer and head of oncology. FierceBiotech noted, “HLI has stayed quiet about the reasons for the exits but they coincided with a period in which it increased its focus on high-end health screening service Health Nucleus.”

HLI uses DNA sequencing and analysis, with machine learning to provide insight into healthcare data. For example, in March, the company offered two comprehensive Health Nucleus product, Health Nucleus X and Health Nucleus X Platinum. Both combine whole genome sequencing with magnetic resonance imaging (MRK) and other modalities curated to focus on cancer, cardiac, metabolic, and neurodegenerative/neurovascular diseases.

J. Craig Venter, the company’s co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer said in a statement at the time, “We are excited to now offer two Health Nucleus experiences both of which provide clients the opportunity to better inform and enhance their healthcare with new memberships to enable follow on testing and longitudinal understanding of how our health changes over time. We believe we have indeed ignited a revolution to empower people with personalized health intelligence and drive the change from reactive to proactive healthcare.”

Venter is no stranger to sexual discrimination accusations. One of his companies, Synthetic Genomics, was sued in 2017 by Teresa Spehar, the company’s vice president of intellectual property. Xconomy wrote last year, “The 13-page complaint includes a specific allegation that Venter made a crude comment to Michele Champagne, SGI’s former director of nutritional product development, that ‘mortified and humiliated’ her during an August 31, 2016 dinner meeting with executives from General Mills, a major corporate client. According to the allegation, when Venter arrived at the meeting, he wrapped his arm around Champagne and said loudly, ‘Looks like you’re the only one without a penis here,’ or words to that effect.”

These allegations are just many in a string aimed at Silicon Valley regarding gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

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