Health IT

HealthTap has a new CEO following Ron Gutman’s ouster

The dramatic change at the top after nine years follows a ramp-up of HealthTap’s health service offerings over the years as its transformed from a medical query website to a multipronged healthcare services platform supporting interaction between physicians and patients.

Bill Gossman, the new CEO of HealthTap, speaking at University of Maryland commencement in 2010.

Ron Gutman, the founder of telehealth startup HealthTap, has been ousted from the CEO role by the company’s board of directors over allegedly intimidating and threatening behavior towards employees, in a story first reported by Recode.

The board moved to replace Gutman with Mohr Davidow Ventures partner Bill Gossman effective immediately. A letter from HealthTap’s board of directors to the company’s staff obtained by TechCrunch noted that Gutman has been removed from serving the company in any capacity and he no longer has a place on the board. The developments at HealthTap follow a 40 percent turnover at the company. The letter explained what triggered the board’s action.

After receiving concerning reports by employees about Ron’s conduct as CEO, the Board of Directors hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into these allegations. What we learned left us with no choice but to make this change, and we did so after taking the necessary steps from a corporate governance perspective.

Recode also cited a termination letter from the board to Gutman that the online publication obtained explaining why he had been fired.  It alleged that he  “committed acts of intimidation, abuse, and mistrust, and that [he] repeatedly mistreated, threatened, harassed and verbally abused employees.”

For his part, Gutman denied that he had been less than professional and protested the board’s action in a statement, part of which read:

The actions of the VCs are harmful to the Company and in violation of their duties. I will not stand for their effort to take control of the Company unfairly and to the detriment of the Company.

Gutman founded HealthTap in 2010 and has received backing from Khosla Ventures,  Mayfield and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s fund  Innovation Endeavors.

Gossman is a partner with VC firm Mohr Davidow Ventures. He has founded and led several companies to an acquisition including fintech startup AboutLife. He founded and chaired the business from 2012 until NerdWallet acquired it in 2016.

The dramatic reshuffle after nine years follows a ramp-up of HealthTap’s health service offerings over the years as its transformed from a medical query website to a multipronged platform for telemedicine, employer wellness, chatbots, and other services. A partnership with Quest Diagnostics was introduced to help doctors and patients use HealthTap to access results for diagnostic tests faster. HealthTap’s acquisition of research aggregator Docphin provided access to customized summaries of research that individual providers are interested in from at least 5,000 medical journals. It shows them which articles are trending among their peers. HealthTap also has added tools to broaden its customer base while providing a more customized service such as a translation service for its medical content. Last year, the company added an artificial intelligence component to its self-triage app referred to as Doctor AI.

Photo from YouTube video of Bill Gossman University of Maryland commencement address