The CEO of a Goldman Sachs-backed company who flaunted his wealthy lifestyle for months while his employees went unpaid, was suspended Friday, Forbes has learned.
Employees of Slync.io, a tech startup that sells software to logistics companies, were told during a virtual all-hands meeting Monday afternoon that CEO Chris Kirchner has been suspended from his role. Tim Kehoe, the chief of staff who delivered the message to employees, is stepping in as interim president of the company and will report directly to the board, according to multiple employees who listened to the meeting.
“We don’t comment on people who are still with us, whether they are suspended or not. That’s all we can say at this point,” Burt White, Slync’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer success, told Forbes. “Slync’s got a great future. With Chris, it is what is, but I can’t talk about current employees.”
The company declined to comment further. An email seeking comment from Kirchner and sent by Forbes to his work address bounced.
Kirchner “has been suspended as CEO until further notice,” Mary Athridge, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs, told Forbes. “We take our responsibility as board members and investors very seriously, as we’ve always done.”
The investors, led by Goldman Sachs, will also be providing more capital to the company to resolve the payroll issue this week, Athridge said, though she declined to say how much. A person with knowledge of the matter said the outstanding payroll was about $4 million.
Athridge declined to comment on why Kirchner was suspended.
The move follows a Forbes report published last week about Kirchner, that alleged he had made financial misrepresentations to Slync’s board, and fired executives who had raised concerns about a lack of financial transparency at the company. The report also noted that the board appeared to take no action when these executives were fired.
Slync board member Jim Atwell had disputed the claims in the July 20 Forbes report, stating that the company’s annual revenue is “significantly higher than your information,” but declined to offer a figure.
Kirchner, who had worked at Best Buy only a few years before launching Slync in 2017, had overseen what appeared to be early success, signing on logistics giants including DHL and Kuehne + Nagel as customers. The company then raised $80 million in funding rounds led by Blumberg Capital and Goldman Sachs, valuing the company at $240 million.
But as the company struggled to grow or raise more funding, Kirchner spent large on his personal endeavors, including the purchase of a private jet, luxury cars, a membership to an exclusive Dallas-area golf club called the Vaquero, and an unsuccessful attempt to buy the English football team, Derby County. “The lifestyle that he was living just didn’t seem real,” a former Slync employee told Forbes last week.