(My personal take based on general theory; not representing any kind of official position or based on specifics of EVF:)
Yeah, combining lots of projects in a small number of legal entities probably increases risk aversion some, relative to them each having their own legal entities. There are various reasons for this, and it’s not clear whether it’s net good.
On the hard analysis (i.e. just looking at ~economic incentives): first order is that it decreases inappropriate risk tolerance since projects that might be judgement proof by themselves are no longer so as part of a larger entity. OTOH it might be that the ecosystem systematically underincentivizes taking upside risks. If large upside risks were correlated with large downside risks (e.g. some activities are just high-variance), which is plausible, it could be bad to asymmetrically make projects internalize downside risk, even though internalizing externalities is usually good. (Impact markets might help here, but have issues of their own …)
On the soft analysis: people may be inclined towards ambiguity aversion, and really not wanting any project to have serious downsides for other projects. This would suggest you might get more risk aversion than is appropriate. OTOH the whole setup could lead to more systematic analysis of risks, in a way that helps to avoid unknowingly taking risks, which is probably an improvement.
Or if you’re asking about the introduction of the Interim CEOs: you might have a concern that they’d be overly risk-averse, if they get the blame for big problems, but don’t get credit for big successes by the projects. I agree that this is a worry in theory; pragmatically, the respective boards will be holding Howie and Zach accountable for “is this a structure which encourages project leads to make appropriately ambitious plans?”, which should help to mitigate it some (probably not all the way because it’s a harder thing to hold them accountable for than whether there were big problems).
Overall my guess is that “effect on risk aversion” is not one of the most important factors for whether this is a good setup.
Sorry I’m mostly trying to take a day away from the forum, but someone let me know that it would be helpful to chime in here. Essentially what happened:
The org had arranged accommodation (not a hotel), but it didn’t cover the first night she’d be in the country
The people running the recruitment talked to me in a “this is your friend you recommended, could you help out?” way
We had a spare room so I offered that; they said yes so I communicated with her about that
This was all arranged on the day of her flight (before she flew)
(I’m eliding details to reduce risk of leaking information about the person’s identity.)