SVCF HR Leader Steps Downs, Investigation Continues

The top human resources executive at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) stepped down, the second top executive to leave the organization within two weeks.

In a 525-word statement yesterday, interim CEO Greg Avis announced that Daiva Natochy, vice president of talent, recruitment and culture, voluntarily resigned.

“The board and I have begun to fill our open leadership positions as part of our new chapter at SVCF. In the interim, our HR team will continue to manage our HR and recruitment functions while supporting the work of the ongoing investigation,” Avis said.

The blog post was meant as a “brief update after my first two days on the job,” Avis wrote. SVCF hosted a Town Hall for all staff yesterday. “Our goal was to provide a forum where staff could ask questions and share concerns,” Avis wrote. “One thing is clear – the staff at SVCF are fiercely committed to our mission and deeply interested in the success of the Foundation and all of its partners, donors and stakeholders.”

Avis was appointed interim CEO last week after CEO Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., was placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation continues into the handling of sexual harassment and hostile workplace complaints at the organization. The investigation led by independent counsel Bois Schiller Flexner expands the reach of the initial investigation undertaken by Thompson Hine LLP.

The investigation stems from allegations of bullying of staff and sexually inappropriate remarks in the workplace. Two days after multiple reports about the workplace issues, Mari Ellen Loijens resigned as chief business, development and brand officer at the foundation.

Avis emphasized that there are no allegations of financial impropriety at SVCF. “All allegations made by former employees and concerns expressed by current employees focus on workplace culture issues,” he wrote. “These allegations are being taken very seriously, and the Board has hired outside counsel to investigate.”

SVCF has assets of $13.5 billion and last year awarded $1.3 billion to nonprofit organizations. Many of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest have set up donor-advised funds at SVCF, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, leading to massive growth at the organization in recent years.