Iterable Inc., a marketing startup valued at $2 billion, fired CEO Justin Zhu after knowledge of him taking LSD in 2019, according to CNBC.
Zhu took LSD, an illegal psychedelic in the US, as an experiment to boost his focus. He claims he was "microdosing" the drug, meaning he took only small amounts to limit the effects of it.
Co-founder Andrew Boni announced the firing of Zhu in an email to employees, citing that he had violated “Iterable’s Employee Handbook, policies and values.” The board of directors chose Boni as Zhu's successor in the CEO role.
Zhu’s “behavior also undermined the board’s confidence in Justin’s ability to lead the company going forward,” Boni said in his email. He went on to describe Zhu as a “world-class innovator and creative thinker” whose “vision, creativity and passion will remain a core part of our culture.”
The use of LSD has been challenged by scientists that cite its positive effects. The drug targets the creative part of the brain, but can cause individuals to hallucinate. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., told his biographer that “taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.”
LSD, commonly known as "Molly" or by its scientific name MDMA, is currently at the Food and Drug Administration's Phase III stage of testing for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).