Uber director falls swiftly on his sword after sexist comment at staff meeting
San Francisco — Uber Technologies director David Bonderman said on Tuesday that he has resigned from the company’s board following a remark he made during an Uber 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 of sexual harassment at the company.
Bonderman said in a statement sent to Reuters that he did not want his comments to create distraction for Uber, which is working to rid its culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
His resignation from the board is effective from Wednesday morning.
During Tuesday’s 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.
In response, Bonderman said: "Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking."
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, an Uber investor, e-mailed Uber staff shortly afterwards to apologise.
In his resignation statement that followed on Tuesday 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 Tuesday’s staff meeting to lay out recommendations from an investigation into sexual harassment, diversity, inclusion and other employee concerns that was led by former US attorney-general Eric Holder.
Holder’s law firm was retained by Uber in February after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a public account of her time at the company, which she said was marred by sexual harassment and an ineffective response by management.
The recommendations, which were unanimously adopted by the board on Sunday, call for reducing CEO Travis Kalanick’s sweeping authority and instituting more controls over spending, human resources and the behaviour of managers.