An Uber board member seemed to make a somewhat sexist remark during a meeting dealing with those exact kind of issues, according to a Tuesday report from The Washington Post.
David Bonderman, a billionaire businessman, reportedly said it’s “much more likely there’ll be more talking” if they add more female board members. He was apparently commenting as Arianna Huffington, founder of the eponymous news outlet, was advocating for further women leaders.
“I want to apologize to my fellow board members for a disrespectful comment,” Bonderman wrote in an email sent to company employees, referring to the utterance as “inappropriate,” WaPo reports. The affluent entrepreneur also reportedly apologized to Huffington personally.
While the remark is likely improper in most contexts, Bonderman’s couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Uber, and its board, are essentially trying to overhaul the company to help deal with workplace issues, as well as stave off the onslaught of bad press stemming from a number of ordeals and embarrassments in recent months. The seemingly most pressing issue, and the one that the board was trying to help solve, is the treatment of women and the overall work culture.
Susan J. Fowler, a former engineer at the ride-sharing company, wrote an incredibly creepy account of her manager’s blatantly unwanted sexual advances. She also alleges that there is systemic sexism at the tech conglomerate. After she wrote her story, several other female employees came forward to support Fowler and corroborate some of her allegations. (RELATED: Report: Uber Executive Analyzed A Rape Victim’s Medical Records Over Suspicions)
With the help of Huffington, former Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder conducted an internal review and issued a number of recommendations to the board, one of which was to place CEO Travis Kalanick on an indefinite leave of absence, which was formalized Tuesday. Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael was permanently dismissed Monday. (RELATED: Investors Not Happy To See Holder, Huffington Investigating Uber)
Other recommendations include diversifying the workplace by requiring a certain number of nominations of minority and female candidates, among others.
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