Buzz, Personnel, TC, Zenefits

Zenefits brings on its first chief HR officer


Zenefits, the human resources software company, is continuing to overhaul its leadership team with the addition of Beth Steinberg as its first chief human resources officer. Steinberg has previously held human resources and people operations positions at companies like Electronic Arts, Facebook and Nike. She’s also the founder of Mensch Ventures, a people and talent advisory firm.

To be clear, Zenefits previously had a head of people and a human resources team in place, but this is its first chief human relations officer. As Zenefits CEO Jay Fulcher told TechCrunch, the prior HR department didn’t have someone he considered to be a “thought leader.”

Steinberg’s hire comes about a week after Zenefits brought on board Lisa Reeves as SVP of Product. Since joining Zenefits as CEO in February, Fulcher has added several other C-suite executives to the team, including COO Jeff Car and CMO Kevin Marasco.

“One of the big priorities I had pretty much right out of the gate in February was build as strong and diverse of a team of industry veterans that have a passion for the industry and what we’re trying to do at Zenefits,” Fulcher said.

He later added that the Zenefits leadership team has about 50/50 gender parity between men and women. Though, everyone at the C-level is a male.

Fulcher came on board to Zenefits as part of what former Zenefits CEO David Sacks described as a “last step in a planned transition” that started over a year ago. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride for Zenefits — between regulatory hurdles, layoffs and top leadership changes — but both Fulcher and Steinberg seem optimistic about moving forward.

“I think that my focus is really on moving Zenefits forward,” Steinberg told TechCrunch. “I certainly acknowledge and appreciate what has gone on there. I’ve studied it, read about it. My focus is really going to be to get people to not look back. Even though we can look back and learn from the mistakes we made, but not focus on that and really try to move the company forward.”

Moving forward at Zenefits means getting back on track to becoming a market leader in the HR space. Part of that will entail spending time on training and development of leaders at all levels throughout the company.

“I see this as a ubiquitous issue in Silicon Valley,” Steinberg said. “There’s not enough time and attention spent on developing leadership capabilities and when companies scale it can become a big issue. My perspective is that leadership is a craft and a skill and it can’t be assumed.”



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