The boys at Uber just can’t help themselves — even when the boys are board members.
Private-equity tycoon David Bonderman, an Uber director, was forced to apologize Tuesday for making what he called an “inappropriate” comment at a companywide meeting aimed at addressing sex discrimination and harassment issues at the company.
Fellow Uber director Arianna Huffington, after welcoming Nestlé executive Wan Ling Martello to Uber’s board, told the assembled crowd that “when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board.”
This prompted a cringe-worthy response from Bonderman, best known as the billionaire boss of buyout firm TPG Capital.
“Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking,” Bonderman said.
The comment quickly went viral on social media, provoking ridicule and disbelief as Uber’s board scrambles to fix the fratboy reputation of its corporate culture under Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.
“I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment,” Bonderman later wrote in a memo to employees, calling his joke “inappropriate.”
Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer credited with instigating a thorough review of company policies after detailing allegations of sexual harassment at the company, was unimpressed by Uber’s promised reforms.
“It’s all optics,” Fowler tweeted to a friend after the all-hands meeting on Tuesday.