How Elizabeth Holmes As a CEO Portrays ‘The Dropout’: Not to ‘Fall from Grace’?

Elizabeth Holmes: Elizabeth Anne Holmes (born February 3, 1984) is a former biotechnology entrepreneur in the United States who was convicted of fraud. In 2003, Holmes founded and served as the CEO of Theranos, a now-defunct health technology business that claimed to have revolutionized blood testing by developing procedures that could use remarkably small amounts of blood, such as from a fingerprick.

Based on the $9 billion value of her company, Forbes dubbed Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America in 2015. As allegations of probable fraud surrounding Theranos’ claims surfaced the following year, Forbes reduced its estimate of Holmes’s net worth to zero, and Fortune labelled her one of “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders.”

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Elizabeth Holmes Convicted of Criminal Fraud

Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos’ demise began in 2015 when a succession of journalistic and regulatory investigations cast doubt on the company’s technical boasts and raised questions about whether Holmes misled investors and the government. In 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Theranos and Holmes with “massive fraud” by making false or exaggerated claims about the accuracy of the company’s blood-testing technology.

Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, return 18.9 million shares to the company, relinquish her voting control of Theranos, and accept a ten-year ban from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

A federal grand jury indicted Holmes and former Theranos CEO Ramesh Balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in June 2018, with investors and patients as the victims.

Her trial, U.S. v. Holmes, et al., concluded in January 2022, with Holmes being found guilty of deceiving investors but not of scamming patients. Her sentencing is set for September 26, 2022, and she could face up to 20 years in federal prison as well as millions in restitution and fines.

Elizabeth Holmes Personal Life

Theranos’ legitimacy was attributed in part to Holmes’ personal connections and ability to secure the backing of powerful persons such as Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Jim Mattis, and Betsy DeVos, all of whom had served or would serve as members of the United States presidential cabinet.

Throughout the majority of Theranos’ history, Elizabeth Holmes was involved in a covert love connection with Balwani. After Theranos went bankrupt, she began dating hotel heir Billy Evans, with whom she welcomed a son in 2021.

A book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by The Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, an HBO documentary feature film, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, and a Hulu miniseries, The Dropout, are all about Holmes’s career, the rise and fall of her company, and the fallout.

Elizabeth Holmes Promotional Activity

In June 2015, Holmes teamed up with Carlos Slim Hel to improve blood testing in Mexico. She launched #IronSisters in October 2015 to support women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

While misrepresenting the quality and effectiveness of the Theranos gadget, she helped write and pass a law in Arizona in 2015 that allows anyone to acquire and pay for lab tests without having insurance or healthcare practitioner permission.

Elizabeth Holmes Recognition

Elizabeth Holmes

Prior to Theranos’ demise, Holmes gained tremendous recognition. She was elected to the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows in 2015 and was named one of the “Time 100 most influential individuals” by Time magazine. Forbes awarded Holmes the Under 30 Doers Award, and she was rated 73rd on the list of “the world’s most powerful women” in 2015.

Glamour honored her Woman of the Year, and Pepperdine University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Holmes was the youngest recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, given by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, in 2015. She was previously selected Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and included in the magazine’s 40 Under 40 list.

In 2016, Fortune published an article titled “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders,” which included Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes ‘The Dropout’ Story on Hulu

Elizabeth Holmes

For the same reason, trying to make any of these complicated startup stories pleasant, schadenfreude narratives — whether they’re about Holmes, Adam Neumann at WeWork, or Travis Kalanick at Uber — is a trap. To be honest, hardly much occurs to these people.

As a result, The Dropout builds to a scenario in which you witness Elizabeth Holmes depart under duress, rather than to her fall from favor as a CEO or a billionaire. The climax isn’t the collapse; it’s the revelation of who she is, what her defect is, and why her downfall isn’t permanent. You’ll discover why this version of Elizabeth Holmes won’t change, and why she’ll never accept what she did.

Because the premise of The Dropout is that, while Holmes was raised by well-connected people, yearned for wealth, was incredibly ambitious, embraced a destructive Silicon Valley culture, and was obstinate to the point of absurdity, there was something unique about the way she processed her past that shaped the person she became.

In particular, the series appears to suggest that Holmes enlarged her mother’s mistaken (but all-too-common) “move on, forget it” advice after her college sexual assault into a “move on, forget it” attitude toward her own criminal conduct.

She discovered the capacity to completely separate the past from the future at any time, severing all ties between the two. And without a link between now and later, there is no link between actions and consequences, which means there is no capacity for conscience to function.

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Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of four of the eleven counts of fraud in January and will be sentenced in September. Meanwhile, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani (Naveen Andrews), a former Theranos executive and Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, is on trial for his role in the company’s fraud.

Three steps forward, one inspired to step back. Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) was left crying in a parking lot, waiting for an Uber in the closing scene of “The Dropout” (all eight episodes are now available on Hulu). Elizabeth Holmes had just left the newly closed office of her biotech company, which had claimed to transform the blood-testing market with needle-free technology that didn’t work.

It was revealed in 2015, thanks to whistleblowers within the company and reports by the Wall Street Journal, that Theranos had deliberately provided people with misleading or defective test results, resulting in lawsuits from investors, patients, and pharmacy partners Walgreen’s.