HubSpot fires CMO, sanctions CEO over business ethics breach

Inbound marketing platform vendor appoints its VP of marketing as new CMO

HubSpot has fired its chief marketing officer, Mike Volpe, and sanctioned its chairman and CEO, Brian Halligan, after revelations of alleged violations against the company’s code of ethics.

In a statement, the inbound marketing platform vendor said Volpe had been terminated after he attempted “to procure a draft manuscript of a book involving the company”, violating its code of business conduct and ethics. The decision was made after an independent review overseen by the board as well as by outside counsel.

Volpe had been with HubSpot since 2007 and was its fifth employee.

HubSpot also stated that vice-president of content, Joe Chernov, resigned before the company was able to determine whether he should also be fired for similar violations. The company said it has since notified legal authorities about the matter.

It is unclear exactly what the book is about, however several media agencies point out former HubSpot employee, Dan Lyons, is currently working on a book about his time at the vendor called Disrupted: My MisAdventure in a Startup Bubble.

The company also revealed its chairman and CEO, Brian Halligan, had been sanctioned by the board for failing to report the actions of Volpe and Chernov in a timely manner. Despite this, lead independent director, Lorrie Norrington, said the board continued to support Halligan’s position in the business.

“While we wish Brian had reported promptly, we are confident as a board in his ability to lead HubSpot and our outstanding team of dedicated employees going forward,” she said in a statement. “We are disappointed by the actions of Mike and Joe. Our board and HubSpot took these matters seriously and acted swiftly and thoroughly once learning of this through an internal report.”

HubSpot has now appointed Kipp Bodnar as its new CMO, effective immediately. Bodnar has been VP of marketing at the vendor for the past two years and joining the business in 2010. Prior to that, he worked for a marketing agency, and he’s also authored a book, The B2B Social Media Book: becoming a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email and More.

Alongside his work at HubSpot, Bodnar is a marketing advisor to several SaaS companies including SimpleMeasured, InsightSquared and Guidebook. He now reports to president and COO, JD Sherman.

“Kipp is an industry recognised expert in inbound marketing, a great leader and has been instrumental in the growth of HubSpot’s marketing team,” Sherman said. “In his new role, Kipp will help us build on our success as a leading inbound marketing and sales platform, as we continue to meet the needs of our customers and execute on our strategies to deliver enhanced shareholder value.”

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