Det här är en debattartikel med anledning av de senaste dagarnas turbulens kring hajpade Min Doktor.
On Monday we learned that Charlotta Tönsgård had been suddenly let go from her role as CEO of Min Doktor. This came as a shock and surprise to Malmö’s startup community - Charlotta’s great expertise and leadership aside. How the affair was handled in the media was a failure of proportions we have not seen in our startup ecosystem.
Our startup community pride’s itself on the common values of openness, paying it forward, and helping people to grow, the opposite of what happened early this week, and unfortunately, what happens from time to time in startup communities around the world.
Since Charlotta joined the company 15 months ago, first as its COO and then as the CEO, she paved the way to take Min Doktor to where it is today. Now one of Europe’s largest e-health providers, Min Doktor has, under Charlotta’s leadership, raised over $6 million in venture capital, significantly increased revenue, and grew the company from around fifteen to 65 employees.
Regardless of how Min Doktor has thrived under Charlotta’s leadership, any Board of Directors has the right to fire the CEO as they see fit. Those complex and sometimes trying decisions have to be accepted, and we will never truly understand the backstory in those cases.
With that said, as a community, we should not accept how the firing was handled in the media. The values of our community demand that we stand up against how this situation was handled publicly, as it is not aligned with the foundation of the community we are building.
In an article in 8till5, a representative from Min Doktor’s Board of Directors said of Charlotta leading the company to global success in the future, “hon hade säkert drömt om att få göra detta själv, men en bit av ledarskapet är också att hindra folk från att misslyckas och det tycker jag att vi har gjort och tagit på oss.”
The Board’s representative continued, “Min Doktor har varit framgångsrikt och vi vill internationalisera bolaget… Charlotta har jobbat i små, agila organisationer men kommer att sakna de erfarenheter som krävs”
Going further, “hon är fantastiskt kompetent, väldigt drivande och har verkligen bidragit till bolagets framgångar – men det är en sak att vara chef, en annan att vara chef över chefer och senare chef över chefers chefer.”
The Board representative also said, “då var det en hypotetisk idé om att vi skulle kunna ta bolaget internationellt, men att det skulle gå så fort som det gjorde kunde vi inte tro.”
As a community, we have watched Min Doktor experience tremendous growth since Charlotta joined and we have seen this success reached not in spite of Charlotta’s leadership, but because of it.
The type of “she’s great, but…” rhetoric expressed by the Board’s representative opposes the values that startup communities are built upon. Startup communities believe in openness and helping each other. Boards have the right to fire their CEO; however, all employees, past and present, have the right to respect, to common courtesy and to not be degraded publicly by their colleagues.
We hope not only to see Min Doktor successful and Charlotta in a new position, but also to see Boards and leaders treat people like people.
Hampus Jakobsson (TAT/Investor)
Jan Erik Solem (CEO, Mapillary)
Sarah Wittbom (Nordic Ecommerce Summit)
Sara Sterner (CEO, Planeto)
Lovisa Nicklasson (Co-Head, Malmö Startups)
Jeremie Poirier (Co-Head, Malmö Startups).