Unless you have been without internet for the past four weeks, I’m sure you all are at least somewhat aware of my situation. Many people have rightly conveyed their concern about my returning to work so soon, and I feel obliged to address this topic. In keeping with the culture of honesty we have worked to cultivate throughout our company, I have decided to share with you all the details of what happened in the Grand Canyon in addition to my motivations for returning to lead XenaCorp again so soon.
Rebecca, Harley, and I spent this Christmas with my parents in New Mexico. It was my plan to take a week of vacation and then promptly return to San Francisco on January 2nd. Before returning I had promised Harley that we would visit the Grand Canyon, as she had been badgering me about doing so for the last four months. Harley would have turned nine this March, but she had already proved herself to be a bit of a daredevil, so I was excited to surprise her with a helicopter tour of the Canyon. Rebecca was less than enthusiastic about the idea, but we both knew how much Harley would enjoy the experience.
We arrived at the Grand Canyon early on December 28th, and Rebecca and I could hardly keep up with Harley as she bounced around the overlooks in excitement. True to our predictions, Harley nearly exploded when Rebecca and I showed her the helicopter that would be taking us over the canyon.
I feel no desire to belabor the details about what happened in the Canyon, as these details are immensely painful for me to even think about, much less write. All I will say is that the pilot believed we were having some form of malfunction with the rotor hub that led to her loss of control of the helicopter.
We were with another young couple in the copter, Pranav and Neha. The sole reason Neha and I were able to survive the crash and be rescued by first responders was because we both were sitting on the right side of the helicopter. That is the only reason. A simple choice of seat. In order to promote my personal well-being, I would appreciate if there was no more talk of this subject. To be more precise, I will fire anyone who speaks of these events in my presence without good reason.
Now then, I believe it would be fruitful to discuss my reasons for so quickly returning to lead the company. Many board members have expressed concern that I am throwing myself back into work as a defense mechanism against my grief. This is a perfectly valid concern, but I assure you all, this is not the case. The loss of my wife and eight-year-old daughter is without a doubt the single most difficult event that I will ever face, and I spent two weeks in the hospital immersed in a sense of inescapable darkness. I do not believe it necessary to divulge any more information about my mental state during the weeks after the Grand Canyon. However, to quell your doubts, I will remind you that I underwent a tremendous amount of mental conditioning during my time in the military. Additionally, I will have you know that I have spoken to three psychiatrists and two trauma therapists, each of whom has deemed me mentally and emotionally capable of returning to my duties as CEO of XenaCorp.
The central reason I have returned is precisely the same reason I founded XenaCorp in the first place: I am absolutely certain that the analysis and services we provide will fundamentally change our world for the better. Rebecca shared this conviction, and it was only through her steadfast support and business savvy that XenaCorp was able to survive its first few years of life. I can therefore only see my continued work leading XenaCorp as a dedication to Rebecca and Harley, and a promise to bring about the change of which Rebecca and I always dreamed.
I have one final note to add. Many of you knew Rebecca closely. Rebecca was gifted with immense intelligence, yet the quality that drew people to her was her unfathomable love for humanity. Regardless of your position with XenaCorp, I ask you to strive to mirror this love in everything you do. I have chosen to dedicate my remaining work with XenaCorp to the memory of Rebecca and Harley. I ask that you would do so as well.