Who is Channing Robertson?
Channing Robertson is an Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University.
Born Channing Rex Robertson, Channing Robertson joined the Stanford faculty in 1970 and was appointed the Ruth G. and William K. Bowes Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering.
Channing Robertson taught Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous founder of Theranos Inc. He also served as Theranos’ first board member. However, Robertson is no longer a teacher at the School of Engineering following his involvement in the Theranos Scandal.
|Full Name||Channing Rex Robertson|
|Birthplace||United States of America|
|Alma Mater||Stanford University|
|Spouse||Donna Robertson (wife)|
|Profession||Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering and former board member of Theranos Inc.|
|Net Worth||Under review|
Education and Career
Channing Robertson studied at the prestigious Stanford University and earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering under Andreas Acrivos. In 1970, he joined the Stanford faculty.
Channing Robertson was employed as the Ruth G. and William K. Bowes Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering. Robertson was part of a particular feature issue of Upside and made it in the list of “100 People Who Have Changed the World”.
Apart from this, Robertson is also a founding fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He met Elizabeth Holmes during her first year at Stanford University. He significantly motivated Holmes to develop her idea and establish her supposed “breakthrough” health technology company.
In 2012, Robertson became a consultant at Theranos, for which he was paid USD 500,000 a year. Soon after, he was appointed the company’s first board member. Likewise, he also encouraged Ian Gibbons to work at Theranos.
The same year, he retired from Stanford and became an emeritus professor. Following the Theranos scandal, Channing Robertson is no longer affiliated with Stanford’s School of Engineering. However, according to several reports, Robertson recently returned to Stanford to teach a course about Busting Energy Myths.
As per lawyer Reed Kathrein, Channing Robertson was paid the hefty annual sum of USD 500,000 only to lend credibility to the company. Instead, Robertson allegedly should have interacted with Theranos’ development team to overcome obstacles or question the legitimacy of the technology used.
Channing Robertson had also talked to Brian Grossman, the founder of PFM Health Sciences, who had invested USD 96 million in Theranos. Grossman had questioned Robertson regarding the technical risks associated with the company.
Robertson had informed Grossman that there were zero technical risks and that the company’s only focus should be ensuring the customers had a good experience. In addition, Robertson described the Theranos technology as so advanced that competitors would take years to catch up if it ever fell into their hands.
Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos
Elizabeth Holmes, a student of Channing Robertson, is the founder and former CEO of Theranos and a convicted fraudster. Holmes joined Stanford University in 2002 as a student of chemical engineering.
She was a student researcher and laboratory assistant at the School of Engineering. In 2003, she was raped while still studying at Stanford. Holmes dropped out of Stanford’s School of Engineering in 2004.
In 2003, Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos Inc., which was believed to be a groundbreaking health technology company. She claimed to have devised blood tests requiring tiny amounts of blood that produced rapid and accurate test results through small automated devices.
At 19, Holmes raised more than USD 700 million from venture capitalists and private investors. In 2013 and 2014, the company was valued at USD 10 billion valuations. In 2015, Forbes named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in the United States.
Theranos’ validity was questioned in 2015 by medical research professor John Ioannidis, professor of clinical biochemistry Eleftherios Diamandis, and investigative journalist John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal. This initiated several legal and commercial challenges for Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes.
Holmes’ net worth was reduced from USD 4.5 billion to virtually nothing by 2016, and the company was dissolved on September 4, 2018, due to many lawsuits and sanctions from CMS. In addition, in 2018, Holmes and Sunny Balwani, her then partner and Theranos’ president, faced fraud charges with the SEC.
Additionally, the duo also faced wire fraud and conspiracy charges. While Holmes was deemed guilty on four counts in January 2022, Balwani was convicted on all 12 counts.
Holmes was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison, whereas Balwani was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in jail, along with three years of probation. In her court speech, Holmes said,
“I am devastated by my failings. I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them. I regret my failings with every cell of my body.”
Following the scandal, Fortune featured Holmes in its “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders” list. In addition, Elizabeth Holmes got engaged to the heir to Evans Hotels, William “Billy” Evans, in 2019. As per several reports, the duo tied the knot in mid-2019.
Holmes and Evans welcomed their son in July 2021. Her second pregnancy was revealed in October 2022, just a few weeks before her sentencing hearing. Her second child was born in February 2023.
Holmes and Evans tried to flee the USA after her conviction. The duo had bought one-way plane tickets to Mexico, but Holmes canceled her ticket following her case defeat. Later, Evans went on to Mexico without Holmes.
As per the prosecutors, “The government became aware on January 23, 2022, that Defendant Holmes booked an international flight to Mexico departing on January 26, 2022, without a scheduled return trip. The trip was canceled only after the government raised this unauthorized flight with defense counsel.”
Channing Robertson Net Worth
There needs to be more information available regarding Channing Robertson’s net worth. However, it is believed that Robertson has made impressive earnings due to his role as the Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University.
Robertson also famously made USD 500,000 yearly as the now-defunct Theranos Inc board member. As a result, he leads a lavish lifestyle.