Prince Harry’s new job as the first chief “impact officer” of a San Francisco startup that combines coaching and computing to benefit employee mental health is a good fit and not a publicity stunt, the CEO who hired the British royal said Thursday.
Chief Executive Alexi Robichaux told The Associated Press the Duke of Sussex, now resident in California with wife Meghan, will assume the specially created role at the San Francisco-based BetterUp, which sells companies employee coaching and mental health help.
“Prince Harry has been one of the the the fiercest advocates for mental wellness or mental fitness for many years,” Robichaux said, pointing to Harry’s work for organizations like Head Fit, a service he launched in partnership with the U.K. Ministry of Defence.
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“This has been a big part of his personal life’s journey and his personal life’s mission.”
It doesn’t hurt, he conceded to AP, that Harry is among the world’s most famous men, with a global media profile carefully nurtured alongside that of his wife, Meghan Markle.
“It’s awesome. I mean, look, we’ll take the press, it certainly helps,” he said. But was quick to add, “that’s not the driving motivation here.”
As Breitbart News reported, BetterUp bills itself as the global leader in mobile-based coaching, counselling and mentorship with a platform that blends behavioural science, artificial intelligence, and human coaching for personal growth and professional development, according to the company.
Founded in 2013, BetterUp has grown to more than 270 employees and a network of some 2,000 coaches. Just last month it announced a $125 million jump in funding at a valuation of $1.73 billion.
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Robichaux told AP that Harry’s role emerged out of months of conversations after they were introduced by an unnamed mutual friend who believed the two shared similar life viewpoints.
“There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm on both sides around this mission of how could we use technology, how could we use science, how could we use human experts to help people go through a personal growth and transformation journey?” Robichaux said. “And so that was the start.”
The Duke of Sussex will not have an office at the company’s headquarters or have employees who report directly to him, Robichaux said, indicating instead the royal would “come into offices and attend company events, once that’s safe and things reopen.”
AP contributed to this report