After the staff meeting, employees angry at Mr. Bonderman’s remarks sent numerous emails to their managers and to Liane Hornsey, Uber’s head of human resources, according to people with knowledge of the situation, who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.
Mr. Bonderman quickly apologized for his remark. People close to him said his resignation from the board was swiftly decided to demonstrate to Uber employees that he wanted to adhere to the standards he spoke about in the staff meeting.
“I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company,” Ms. Huffington said in a statement.
Mr. Bonderman joined Uber’s board because TPG is an investor in the ride-hailing company. For the past few months, he had been working on Uber’s culture. In a statement, he said his 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.”
Mr. Bonderman added: “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.”
Mr. Bonderman’s board seat at Uber may not be vacant for long. As a major stakeholder in Uber, TPG will most likely keep the seat and is discussing who may fill the position.
Mr. Bonderman’s original comments, according to experts, also lack merit.
Tali Mendelberg, professor of politics at Princeton University, and Christopher Karpowitz, an associate professor of political science at Brigham Young University, conducted a study in 2012 concluding that men talked far more than women did at meetings. The professors convened 94 groups of five people and varied the number of men and women in the groups. Their study is in line with multiple others drawing similar conclusions — men talk more than women, and men interrupt more than women.
“The study shows that men will dominate the conversation if there are more men than women in the group, and they dominate by a lot,” Ms. Mendelberg said in an interview. “When you have just two women in the group, those women are much more silent than men are.”
Uber’s board of directors was composed entirely of men until 2016, when Ms. Huffington gained a seat. This week Uber said another woman had been added to the board: Wan Ling Martello, the executive vice president of Nestle in South Asia.
In an email to employees late Tuesday about Mr. Bonderman, Mr. Kalanick wrote, “Board and management leadership is our highest priority and over the coming weeks and months we will be adding strong independent board members.”
But Ms. Mendelberg warned that it will take more than a few appointments to change the company’s board dynamics. “Simply going from one woman to two women is going to do nothing to women’s voice or influence,” she said.
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