Uber board member David Bonderman took the opportunity at an all-hands meeting held to discuss an investigation into reports of sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber to joke about how women talk too much. He resigned hours later.
Out of eight individuals, just two of Uber's board members — Arianna Huffington and Wan Ling Martello — are female. Martello was brought on earlier this week, a fact which Huffington pointed to as a sign of improvement.
"We have been joined on the board by an incredible leader who also happens to be a woman," Huffington said in front of an audience of most of Uber's staff. "There’s a lot of data that shows that when there is one woman on the board it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman.”
That's when Bonderman cut in, saying, "Actually what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking."
The comments, made public via a recording of the meeting leaked to Yahoo Finance, were widely seen as inappropriate, especially given Uber's ongoing issues with what some employees have described as a top-down culture of sexism.
Bonderman apologized to the entire company via email Tuesday afternoon.
"I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment that as directed at her during today's discussion," Bonderman wrote. "It was inappropriate. I also want to apologize to all Uber employees who were offended by the remark. I deeply regret it."
Here's his full resignation statement:
"Today at Uber’s all-hands meeting, I directed a comment to my colleague and friend Arianna Huffington that was careless, inappropriate, and inexcusable. The comment came across in a way that was the opposite of what I intended, but I understand the destructive effect it had, and I take full responsibility for that. Having worked with the company for some months on the Holder report, I recognize the importance of implementing the requirements of the report. 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. I need to hold myself to the same standards that we’re asking Uber to adopt. Therefore, I have decided to resign from Uber's board of directors, effective tomorrow morning. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on Uber’s board, and I look forward to seeing the company’s progress and future success."
Caroline O'Donovan is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Caroline O'Donovan at email@example.com.
Priya Anand is a tech and transportation reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
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