Prince Harry’s new ‘Chief Impact Officer’ job title at San Francisco-based mental health start-up BetterUp Inc. is leaving some in Japan laughing over its acronym.
The job title, that in the US is sometimes shortened to ‘CHIMPO’, has already drawn mockery at home in Britain for the silly-sounding phrase.
But it has led to laughter and red-faces among many in the Asian country who have heard the news, due to the word ‘chimpo’ in Japanese being slang for ‘penis’.
The Duke of Sussex was unveiled last month as the chief impact officer (CHIMPO) at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of Harry released at the same time. The title’s acronym has left some in Japan red-faced on account of it being slang for ‘penis’
Japanese news website SoraNews24 quoted reaction from social media users in the country to the job title.
‘Imagine if he came to Japan and introduced himself as a ‘chimpo’ to officials? I’d love to see their faces!’ one person wrote, according to the outlet.
‘It doesn’t matter what age you are, the word ‘chimpo’ always raises a smile,’ another said, with a third adding: ‘I bet this news made junior high school boys happy.’
One user was quoted by the outlet rhetorically asking someone to explain the slang term to Prince Harry, to alert him to the misunderstanding.
‘So his role is Chief Pole Officer?’ another social media user mused.
Prince Harry – who is returning to the US after visiting the UK for the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip – was appointed to the role of Chief Impact Officer (CHIMPO) of BetterUp Inc. in March, the company announced at the time.
As well as having a full say in ‘strategic’ decisions, the prince – who had vowed not to cash in on his royal credentials – became a public face for the business.
His photograph was already prominently displayed on the firm’s website alongside the words ‘Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex’ at the time of the announcement.
The firm’s founder has refused to say whether Harry is being paid a salary.
A statement on the company’s website said: ‘Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex is a humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist’
Industry insiders suggest he is more likely to have been given equity in the company, which is valued at up to £1.25billion, despite him never having worked in the corporate world during his 36 years.
The new role comes on the back of lucrative deals for the prince and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, following their controversial move to California.
They are making programmes and podcasts for media companies Netflix and Spotify, while Meghan has invested in a firm making ‘wellness lattes’.
In a statement last month, Harry said he was excited to be joining BetterUp and proclaimed that he wanted to ‘lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations’.
Harry told Oprah that he has been forced to seek corporate work after his father Prince Charles ‘cut him off’ financially after they emigrated to Canada and then on to LA. Pictured: Harry, from left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey
He added: ‘Self-optimisation is not about fixing something that’s broken. It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us – someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence and self-awareness.’
Harry who has spoken openly about his own mental health issues and how he sought professional help to cope with the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, told the Wall Street Journal he had been using BetterUp’s app and a coach for several months.
The Journal added: ‘The role is the latest foray into business for the duke who, with his wife, Meghan Markle, relinquished roles as full-time working members of the British monarchy and have tapped into their celebrity with a string of lucrative deals.’
It quoted Harry as saying: ‘I intend to help create impact in people’s lives.’
Inside the office: BetterUp’s San Francisco offices include numerous sofas, exercise equipment and a punhing bag
BetterUp chief executive Alexi Robichaux said he was introduced to Harry through a mutual friend and began to speak about the role with him last autumn. He insisted the prince’s appointment wasn’t just window dressing because of who he is, saying: ‘It’s a meaningful and meaty role.’
The job of chief impact officer is rare in the corporate world but more common in charity sector, where it can command a salary of £80,000 upwards. However, the true worth of Harry’s deal could run into the tens of millions.
Just 48 hours after the first announcement was made, Prince Harry also announced he would be joining the left-leaning Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder in Washington DC along with 14 others including Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who resigned from his father’s media empire last year.
He joined as a celebrity commissioner fighting what he calls an ‘avalanche of misinformation’ in the digital world.
Prince Harry’s statement on the website of the company he joined
Harry’s statement on the BetterUp website … and how his royal title was displayed with a black and white photograph.
I am really excited to be joining the BetterUp team and community! Thanks for having me.
I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritising our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us.
As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ What I’ve learned in my own life is the power of transforming pain into purpose.
During my decade in the military, I learned that we don’t just need to build physical resilience, but also mental resilience. When I first met Alexi [Robichaux], we instantly recognised a shared passion for helping others realise their full potential.
As our conversations continued, it became even more clear that we hold a similar philosophy on mental health: that we must proactively take care of our minds. I’ve personally found working with a BetterUp coach to be invaluable. And because we believe in strengthening our own mental fitness, our entire Archewell team also has access to BetterUp coaching.
As BetterUp’s first Chief Impact Officer, my goal is to lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations. And my hope is to help people develop their inner strength, resilience, and confidence.