Aarti Shah 12 Jun 2016 // 2:27AM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Verily, formerly Google Life Sciences, has hired W2O's Carolyn Wang as its chief communications officer as the startup battles media reports that it is facing challenges.
W2O CEO Jim Weiss announced Wang's departure on June 9 in an internal memo that the Holmes Report has seen. According to the memo, Wang is leaving in three weeks to become chief communications officer at Verily, the biotech division of the newly formed Alphabet (Google's parent company).
Verily faced a series of media reports recently that the startup is troubled amid senior departures and ineffective technology. The company is working on a smart contact lens, diabetes treatment and smart spoons, among other things. During an earnings call last week, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt said the company is "very, very confident" in Verily. Google's press team hasn't responded to requests for comment of Wang's appointment.
Last year Wang, a 12-year-veteran at W2O Group, was named president BrewLife, the agency within the group that's focused on launching brands. In 2015, BrewLife's revenues were just north of $11m (W2O Group's overall revenues were $95m) with the biggest revenue drivers coming from launching new drugs and branding initiatives.
"I am passionate about Verily’s mission, which could ultimately help to make healthcare cheaper and more accessible to millions of people," Wang said. "Leaving W2O Group and my BrewLife team is certainly bittersweet for me...when I started, we were six people and now we number close to 500 employees across the US and EU."
"We will take a fresh look at the biz and staffing across the whole firm and catapult it to the next level," Weiss said in the memo. During the interim, W2O Group COO Jenn Gottlieb will oversee BrewLife's operations. W2O recently sold a stake to a private equity firm.