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Afiniti Founder and CEO Zia Chishti steps down after sexual assault allegations

The Board of Directors of Afiniti announced that Zia Chishti has stepped down from his role as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Afiniti, effective immediately.

According to the details, the Board will make additional organizational announcements in the coming days.

The move came two days after a 23-year-old former employee testified before a U.S. congressional committee investigating arbitration clauses that companies write into contracts, and the chilling effect they can have on victims of harassment and other crimes.

The market price of the company is still enduring selling pressure as the share price of the company plunged by Rs27.2 and currently trading at Rs.103.25 per share within two days.

To recall, the share price of The Resource Group (TRG) had drastically declined on Wednesday by Rs9.78 or 7.59% after the said news appeared on media. On the same day, the Afinity, TRG remained responsible for deducting more than 100  points from the KSE 100-index. 

The earlier reports said, the software house, Afiniti investigated Ms Spottiswoode’s claims with independent counsel wherein it concluded that the arbitral decision she referred was incorrect while Zia Chishti has strongly refuted all accusations against him.

Zia Chishti spent more than a decade building Afiniti, a company to revolutionize the way call centres operate. Along the way, he assembled a star-studded roster of advisers such as a retired U.S. admiral, A-List chief executives, and three former heads of government, including former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

He hired a high-powered sales force that featured a member of the royal family and a great-grandson of Winston Churchill. And he signed up blue-chip customers such as Caesars Entertainment and Enel SpA.

Chishti, a heli-skiing Pakistani–American who previously launched the Invisalign dental braces business that is now worth $47 billion, founded the company that would become Afiniti in 2006 as a call-centre operator. Around 2017, it started to identify itself as an AI pioneer, saying its software could supercharge the efficiency of call centres by matching customers with agents most likely to solve their problem or make a sale, the report said.

Chishti’s pitch has attracted investors such as McKinsey & Co., Swiss asset manager GAM Holding AG, media scion Elisabeth Murdoch, and former BP Plc boss John Browne. In recent months, Chishti, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had insisted Afiniti deserved a valuation of at least $2 billion.

But current and former Afiniti engineers say the software simply matches callers and agents via common variables, such as where they live, how much they earn, and the colour of their skin. Afiniti counters that it never pairs users using ethnicity, race, gender, religion, or language, instead relying on “interaction history, product ownership, longevity of relationship and reason for contact.”

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