Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Uber Hires Bozoma Saint John, Fires Over Twenty Harassers and Bullies

Lots of news at Uber today, starting with a report from TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden:

Last week, ahead of WWDC, there was a ripple of news when Axios discovered that Bozoma Saint John — one of the more noticeable execs at the company for being a woman of color, who led an Apple Music demo at the previous year’s WWDC to some acclaim — was leaving Apple. Now TechCrunch has learned where she’s landing: she’s going to Uber.

We received the news via a tip, and have confirmed the appointment through multiple sources at Uber. The company, we understand, views the appointment as important in helping “turn the tide on recent issues.”

After Axios broke that news last week, I knew that Boz sadly wouldn’t be appearing during the keynote yesterday. She’s a fantastic presenter, and I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about her track record; I’m sure she’ll make a great Chief Brand Officer at Uber. And Uber’s going to need some great people of Boz’s calibre to turn it around.

Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg:

Uber Technologies Inc. said it fired more than 20 people after a company investigation into harassment claims.

Bobbie Wilson, an attorney at Perkins Coie LLP, gave Uber’s more than 12,000 employees an assessment of the firm’s investigation on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the issue, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters. A separate probe commissioned by Uber that’s being led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has given its own recommendations to a subcommittee of Uber’s board of directors, the person said.

In a review of 215 human-resources claims, Perkins Coie took no action in 100 instances as it continues to investigate 57 others; meanwhile, 31 employees are in counseling or training, while seven received written warnings from the company, an Uber spokesman said. The issues deal with harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other HR matters. The company didn’t name the employees who were let go. Some of the people fired were senior executives, according to the person.

Even after a housecleaning like this, there’s still the matter of Uber’s internal culture. It’s hard to imagine really meaningful change happening at the company just because they fired a bunch of people, especially with Travis Kalanick still in charge.