Uber board member apologies for remark about talkative women

The meeting took place without CEO Travis Kalanick, who is taking a leave of absence from the company.

The exchange revolves around the recent addition of Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello as the second woman to Uber's board, after Huffington.

In an audio recording of an all hands meeting organized by Uber, board member David Bonderman can be heard stating that "adding more women to the board meant more talking".

"Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking", Bonderman replied.

Huffington laughed awkwardly - the rest of the room remained silent - before saying "Ohh come on David".

It was a stunningly tone-deaf moment.

Uber hired Holder and his law firm Covington & Burling in February to conduct an independent investigation into the company's culture after a former Uber employee alleged in a blog post that she'd experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and that Uber managers tried to cover up. According to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac, the statement, forwarded by HR head Liane Hornsey reads, "I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment that was directed at her during today's discussion". The company said the board has adopted every recommendation.

"This is a hugely significant event, " said Michael Useem, a management professor in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. "I deeply regret it".

But one particular comment during the meeting made it clear that the company still has work to do on how it deals with sexism among its own board members. Notably, he didn't apologize to everyone, but instead, "to all Uber employees who were offended by the remark".

The gaffe comes after Uber investigated 47 counts of sexual harassment within the company, uncovered after Uber engineer Susan Fowler claimed the company failed to act on sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints.

  • Zachary Reyes