Thu, Jun 15, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Uber director quits after making offensive remark


Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick speaks to students at the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Mumbai on Jan. 19 last year.

Photo: Reuters

Uber Technologies Inc director David Bonderman on Tuesday said that he has resigned from the company’s board following a remark he made during a staff meeting that was widely seen as offensive to women.

Bonderman’s ill-timed remark came during an all-staff meeting on Tuesday to discuss how the ride-services company plans to transform itself following a probe into sexual harassment at the company.

Bonderman said in a statement sent to reporters that he did not want his comments to create a distraction for Uber, which is working to rid its culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.

His resignation from the board was to be effective from yesterday morning.

During the meeting, Uber board member Arianna Huffington spoke to employees about the importance of adding more women to the board of directors.

“There’s a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board,” Huffington said.

“Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking,” Bonderman said.

The comment was disclosed through a recording of the meeting that was published by Yahoo.

An Uber spokesman verified the authenticity and accuracy of the recording.

Bonderman, who is a founder of private equity firm TPG Capital LLP, an Uber investor, shortly after wrote an e-mail to Uber staff to apologize.

In his resignation statement that followed in the evening, Bonderman reiterated his regret, calling his remarks “careless, inappropriate and inexcusable” and “the opposite of what I intended.”

“I take full responsibility for that,” he said. “I need to hold myself to the same standards that we’re asking Uber to adopt.”

Bonderman and other board members had joined the staff meeting to lay out recommendations from an investigation into sexual harassment, diversity, inclusion and other employee concerns led by former US attorney general Eric Holder.

Holder's recommendations, which were unanimously adopted by the board on Sunday, call for reducing Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick's sweeping authority at the firm, and instituting more controls over spending, human resources and the behavior of managers.

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