Uber Board Member Makes Sexist Comment During All-Hands Meeting

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 14, 2017

Holder's firm, Covington & Burling LLP, and a second firm, Perkins Coie, conducted separate examinations of Uber's workplace culture after a former engineer leveled charges of sexual harassment.

Now valued at close to $A93b, it has fast become the world's most valuable start-up.

Uber said Tuesday its chief executive Travis Kalanick would take an indefinite leave of absence as it unveiled steps aimed at restoring confidence in the scandal-plagued ridesharing giant.

Uber released the results of a three-month independent investigation on Tuesday, pulling back the curtain on a work culture former employees have described as toxic and indifferent to sexual harassment. She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture and no further punishment because he was a "high performer", she wrote.

And Uber's performance review process must change, too, in order to prevent it from being used unfairly and to restore employee trust in the system. The company will strip him of some duties and appoint an independent chair to limit his influence after a slew of scandals, according to an advance copy of a report prepared for the board.

Some reports said Kalanick could take a temporary leave of absence as part of the effort to restore confidence in Uber. Kalanick did not specify how long he would be away from the job and said that he needs to work on himself as a leader.

In his email, Kalanick cited the need to take time off to grieve the loss of his mother, who died in a recent boating accident in which his father was also injured, and also to address his own shortcomings. Chief among those recommendations was to "Review and Reallocate the Responsibilities of Travis Kalanick".

More than anything, the recommendations paint Uber as a successful but unruly child of a company, one in need of adult supervision. The report also called for the appointment of a senior executive to oversee the implementation of its recommendations.

Kalanick apparently made his decision to take a leave at nearly the last minute.

Uber does not file full financial reports but indicated its bookings a year ago doubled to $20 billion, with net revenue totaling $6.5 billion and an adjusted net loss of $2.8 billion not counting China operations that it sold.

In case you didn't think that was bad enough, Liane Hornsey, chief human resources officer, made a joke about drinking.

According to the Washington Post, Bonderman also personally apologized to Huffington, who said in a statement, "David has apologized to all Uber employees for a remark that was totally inappropriate and against the new culture we are building at Uber". If Uber truly wants to cure the disease that caused its current ills, that IPO will put power in the board and shareholders instead of a single executive who has shown he is not worthy of such power. The report recommends that Uber make sure its workforce becomes more diverse from the top down. It means the company must interview at least one woman and one underrepresented minority for key positions.

And though the company's quarterly revenue increased from $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion during the same period, there is evidence that along the way it unwittingly ceded part of the USA ride sharing market to rival Lyft, which rose from 18 per cent of the market at the beginning of the year to 25 per cent, according to analytics firm TXN.

The report also asks that an "oversight committee" be created to hold the company accountable for things like ethical business practices, diversity and inclusion.

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