Apr 15, 2016 ยท 1 minute

Well, crikey.

Probably no commentator has been more closely watching Zappos’ shift to Holacracy than me. Not only was I one of the first to dig deeply into the many, many flaws of Holacracy at Zappos but I also spent almost three years as part of Tony Hsieh’s Las Vegas downtown community (disclosure: He invested in my previous company, and also in Pando.) On any given day my inbox is filled with notes from people in Vegas with the latest complaint or doom and gloom prediction about Holacracy.

And yet even I didn’t see this one coming.

Fred Mossler, Tony Hsieh’s right hand man at Zappos, is leaving the company.

It’s hard to explain the significance of this. Imagine if Ben and Jerry’s suddenly just became Ben’s and you’re close. Mossler is a constant presence by Hsieh’s side, and is credited with turning Zappos into the ultra efficient ecommerce machine that saw it sell to Amazon for around a billion dollars.

And now he’s leaving.

Breaking the news, Fortune came perilously close to calling bullshit on Mossler’s insistence that his departure had nothing to do with Holacracy. I’ll go further: Of course he’s leaving because of Holacracy. Everyone is leaving Zappos because of Holacracy.

I’ve written before that the real effect of Holacracy isn’t to remove all managers, it’s to remove all managers except for one: Tony Hsieh. With Mossler’s departure, Zappos has finally made the transition to full-blown corporate dictatorship.  However chaotic and weird the company had become until now, without Mossler’s steadying hand, it’s about to become even weirder.

The question now is how long until Amazon decides enough is enough.