David Bonderman, who was named last week as a major investor in the effort to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle, was forced to resign from the board of Uber on Tuesday in the aftermath of an “inappropriate” comment made to fellow board member Arianna Huffington during a company wide meeting. The gathering was to discuss the problem of harassment toward women.
The Washington Post reports the following exchange between Bonderman and Huffington.
“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,” said Huffington, according to several people who heard the remarks.
“Actually,” Bonderman interjected, “what it shows is, it’s much likely there'll be more talking.”
“Oh, come on, David,” Huffington said, in between awkward laughs. Addressing the crowd, she added, “Don't worry, David will have a lot of talking to do, as well.”
Bonderman later apologized for the remark both to Huffington personally and to Uber employees in a company-wide email. According to the Washington Post article, Huffington acknowledged the apology.
“David has apologized to all Uber employees for a remark that was totally inappropriate and against the new culture we are building at Uber,” Huffington said in a statement.
Later in the day, Bonderman resigned with the following statement.
Uber is examining the issues with its culture, and 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.
Huffington released this statement in response.
I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company.
While it’s good that Bonderman rightfully apologized and took tangible responsibility for the remark, it’s also unfortunate that the remark was made in the first place. Hopefully, he will prove this to be an anomoly.