By Manasi Nene
Uber has been having a tough year. After a blog post by ex-employee Susan Fowler went viral, about 200,000 people deleted their accounts on the app. Fowler had been facing sexual harassment in the office, but Uber refused to take any action against the man who had been harassing her – and they even blocked her promotion. After she left, taking 200,000 customers with her, CEO Travis Kalanick issued an apology and promised to look into the internal workplace culture at Uber.
And then, there was a video of him being pretty disrespectful to one of his employees, for which he issued an apology as well. And then, an internal memo was leaked, which highlighted some pretty weird guidelines for Uber employees to follow while partying. There’s a whole string of internal culture guidelines that need to be looked at, with accusations of the workplace culture being far too aggressive and unrestrained.
Then, there was an exodus of senior staff at Uber. The erstwhile president, Jeff Jones, left citing a difference in beliefs and approach; the SVP of engineering, Amit Singhal and the VP of product and growth, Ed Baker, both left amid allegations of bad behaviour. Even Kalanick has is taking an indefinite leave of absence, promising to work on his leadership skills during the absence.
Now, ex-director and board member David Bonderman has also resigned, after his sexist comments at a board meeting got him into trouble. When board member Ariana Huffington brought up the statistic that having one woman on the board often leads to having a second woman on the board, Bonderman had the most wonderfully clueless-about-sexism answer – “Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking.”
Even if that is the case, at least the women of Uber don’t seem to have a solid case of foot-in-the-mouth disease like the men of Uber.