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Uber board member David Bonderman resigns after sexist comment at meeting

  • Uber board member David Bonderman, who spurred outrage after making a sexist remark at a staff meeting, has resigned on Tuesday
  • The meeting was held on the day of the release of the Holder report on a law firm's investigation into allegations of a hostile work environment at Uber, including allegations of unchecked sexual harassment and gender bias
  • Uber board member Arianna Huffington said Bonderman was doing the right thing for Uber

Uber board member David Bonderman, who spurred outrage after making a sexist remark at a staff meeting held subsequent to an investigation of sexual harassment at the ride-sharing company, has resigned on Tuesday.

The resignation will be effective as of Wednesday morning.

At a company staff meeting, another Uber board member, Arianna Huffington, remarked that having one woman on a board often leads to more women joining a board, according to a leaked audio recording of the meeting, obtained by Yahoo Finance.

Bonderman replied, "actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking," according to the recording.

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

That spurred outrage in the tech world as the incident came hard on the heels of the completion of a law firm's investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, over allegations of a hostile work environment at Uber, including allegations of unchecked sexual harassment and gender bias. The investigation's recommendations were released earlier on Tuesday.

Uber launched an investigation into 47 counts of sexual harassment within the company, which were uncovered after Uber engineer Susan Fowler claimed in a widely read blog-post that it failed to act on sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints.

The resignation, which was initially reported by the New York Times, which cited two unnamed sources, was confirmed by a statement from Bonderman.

"I directed a comment to my colleague and friend Arianna Huffington that was careless, inappropriate, and inexcusable," Bonderman said.

"Having worked with the company for some months on the Holder report, I recognize the importance of implementing the requirements of the report," he said.

"Uber is examining the issues with its culture, making significant changes and working to right what has been done wrong, which is extremely important for the future of the company. I do not want my comments to create distraction as Uber works to build a culture of which we can be proud."

Huffington said in a statement: "I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company."

A representative of Uber confirmed the resignation of Bonderman, who is also a partner at private-equity firm TPG, an investor in the company. TPG was expected to select a new board representative soon.

At the meeting, it was also announced that CEO Travis Kalanick, whose mother recently died, would be taking a leave of absence. Kalanick did not disclose a return date.

The latest incident comes amid a tumultuous year for the company.

After Fowler posted her blog in February, a series of other accusations of misconduct soon surfaced. A video revealed Kalanick yelling at a driver. The New York Times uncovered software that allowed Uber to evade authorities. And people associated with the company made troubling claims, including that some top brass at Uber went to an escort-karaoke bar in Seoul.

Meanwhile, the company fought a lawsuit from Alphabet's Waymo, alleging an Uber engineer (since dismissed) had stolen Waymo's intellectual property.

The bad press came to a head last week when Recode reported that a top Uber executive had obtained the medical records of a customer who was a rape victim and shown them to other executives as part of an investigation into the role of a rival.

At least 20 staff members have also been fired as the result of a separate investigation by law firm Perkins Coie, which looked at claims of sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination and more.

—Anita Balakrishnan and Deirdre Bosa contributed to this article.

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