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AMA: Lewis Bollard, Open Philanthropy

Hi Lewis, I am another former Animal Equality worker who prefers to remain anonymous for reasons already mentioned in the forum. I want to give more information and make a reflection on this issue:

- 85% of the team in Germany quitted the organization in the last months when the international board took over the control of the German organization. Most of the team opposed the management style and HR values of the international board. See here how ratings on the German  anonymous employer review platform Kununu collapse over time, reporting the situation, when the international board took over management.

- Power continues to be held by the founders and their trusted people, some of them taking on other roles to make it appear as a more balanced management structure that does not exist. The systemic and structural problem will persist as long as large donors and the effective altruism philanthropists continue to allow this situation to persist.

- Predatory management, far from being isolated cases, the leadership model is based on coercion of employees. Hence, employees are afraid to speak up, as we have already seen here. A dissenting opinion means dismissal. It is common practice to motivate dismissals with professional law firms that advise on the best ways to fire "uncomfortable" people, without having anything to do with their performance.

- Fostering the culture of toxic competitiveness among organizations, as is known in some countries. Far from following the values and principles of effective altruism, the leadership model uses it to obtain funding, without sharing its values.

- Dismissals during medical leaves motivated by the predatory and toxic leadership model. Even victims of the predatory management taking medication for work-related anxiety episodes.

- It is common practice to sign non-disclosure clauses at the time of contract termination to prevent issues such as those described here from being known.

Far from being improved by the measures taken by Open Philanthropy Project (and other philanthropic organizations), the predatory management model imposed by the founders extends throughout Animal Equality's international offices. As many prominent activists comment, "it's an open secret." If Open Philanthropy Project or other philanthropic organizations or major donors are not aware of this, it must be because they do not make the effort to know about it, not because of lack of resources. Something that is internationally known (a predatory and toxic model from top to bottom) is impossible that it cannot be managed by people with so many contacts in the environment.

As an example: after an employee satisfaction interview conducted in AE Spain in 2017, the results were so alarming that we know that the founders located in US expressed "you have to buy tickets for Spain". Once they arrived there, they promised workers that they were coming to listen and solve problems created by the management in Spain (an AE founder). This made the workers express themselves freely, trusting the word of the founders located in the US. This was followed by the sudden dismissal of two key workers in Spain who had expressed the untenable incompetence of the Spanish management, something so well known internationally, that the former director of Spain was forced to retire from the management, although he still has full control of the decisions (same situation as with the current executive vice-president, who was just as well forced to retire from his previous position).

Everything mentioned here to improve the predatory model that the founders impose on AE does not do much to repair the harm done to dozens? hundreds? of victims of workplace harassment. Is this the best we can hope for?