Uber Board Member Resigns After Making Sexist Joke During All-Hands Meeting

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David Bonderman

David Bonderman, who founded TPG Group, said that having more women on a board results in "more talking."

Uber board member David Bonderman has resigned from his position following a joke made during the company's all-hands meeting about corporate culture Tuesday morning that having more women on a board results in "more talking."

Bonderman, a founding partner of TPG, later apologized for the remark, directed at fellow board member Arianna Huffington. But on Tuesday evening he issued a statement announcing plans to resign from the board effective Wednesday morning. In the statement, he called the comments "careless, inappropriate and inexcusable." 

He continued: "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."

TPG will continue to have a board seat but has yet to name Bonderman's replacement, according to sources familiar with the company. 

Uber board members had convened with the staff of the ride-hailing company to discuss the recommendations put forth by the law firm Covington & Burling, which recently completed an investigation into Uber culture following reports of sexual harassment. The meeting took place without CEO Travis Kalanick, who is taking a leave of absence from the company.

Huffington, who joined the Uber board in April 2016, started the meeting with a speech about the changes that the company would be implementing.  

She also spoke about the appointment of Wan Lin Martello, head of Nestle's Asia Zone, to Uber's board, noting that she is the second woman on the eight-person board. In the audio obtained by Yahoo Finance, Huffington goes on to explain, "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."

Bonderman, whose TPG owns a majority stake in CAA, then interjected, "Actually what it shows is it's much likely to be more talking." Huffington responded by saying, "Oh, come on, David. Don't worry, David will have a lot of talking to do as well."

Bonderman later sent an email apologizing for the remarks, which New York Times reporter Mike Isaac first tweeted. "I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment that was directed at her during today's discussion," it reads. "It was inappropriate. I also want to apologize to all Uber employees who were offended by the remark. I deeply regret it." 

Huffington has released a statement regarding Bonderman's resignation, saying, "I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company." 

Bonderman's full statement announcing his resignation reads: 

"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 the last few months on the Holder report, I recognize the importance of implementing the requirements of the report. 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. 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."

June 13, 7:10 p.m.: Updated to include news of Bonderman's resignation.

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