Jeffrey Katzenberg Almost Named Quibi “Omakase”

It was so bad that CEO Meg Whitman almost quit over it

Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Quibi

Buried within an extensive new Wall Street Journal report about tensions between Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman is the revelation that the company’s name was almost…worse than Quibi.

“The executives wanted a name that captured the company’s strategy,” the Journal reports.”Mr. Katzenberg was initially partial to ‘Omakase,’ a term used to describe high-quality sushi selected by the chef. Ms. Whitman wasn’t in favor. The two agreed to set it aside. The company hired a brand-strategy firm, Siegel+Gale, which helped come up with the name Quibi— short for ‘quick bites.’”

As the article points out, the dispute over the “Omakase” name was just the tip of the iceberg. Whitman reportedly came to Katzenberg in May 2018 with a list of complaints, threatening to quit, but eventually the pair came to an agreement that would give her more independence.

“Meg and Jeffrey have formed a strong partnership built on trust and authenticity,” a Quibi spokeswoman said in a statement. “Jeffrey personally recruited Meg to be the CEO and employee number one, and both have widely acknowledged that Quibi exists only because of their combined decades of experience from Silicon Valley and Hollywood—and their highly complementary strengths. Any new founder-CEO partnership has to find its footing, and they did that over two years ago. They are good friends and admire and respect one another.”

It would appear that tensions between the two or the goofy name are the least of Quibi’s worries these days, as the company continues to bleed subscribers, with paid users being about 4 million lower than the original annual target of 7.4 million. “Quibi is trying to conserve cash,” the publication notes. “Last month, the company estimated it would need to reduce its content and marketing budgets by a combined $300 million in its first year.”

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