With accusations of top executives at Uber having turned a blind eye to sexual harassment, the ride-hailing service company’s board of directors met on Sunday to discuss the company’s leadership, and as a result of it, Uber’s co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick has announced that he will take a leave of absence. The company also declared it would embark on a sweeping reorganization to ensure that executives are more closely supervised by its board of directors.
At a packed meeting with employees on Tuesday morning, Uber released 13 pages of recommendations compiled as part of an investigation into sexual harassment and other wrongdoing conducted by the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and his law firm, Covington & Burlington.
But even as Uber promised to reform itself, an exchange between board members onstage highlighted the company’s challenges. In front of employees, the board member Arianna Huffington talked about how having one female director typically leads to more female directors. David Bonderman, a fellow board member and a founding partner at the private equity firm TPG, replied that adding more women to the board would result in “more talking.”
The remark left people aghast, according to those who were there, and set off a storm of criticism on Twitter.
Mr. Bonderman later apologized to Ms. Huffington and Uber’s employees in an email, before resigning from the board a few hours later.
Before the meeting, Mr. Kalanick said in an email to employees that he would take time off to work on himself and reflect on building a “world-class leadership team” for the company. He did not specify how long he would be away, and he did not appear at the staff meeting.
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