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Uber hires first-ever diversity officer in attempt to repair its reputation
Uber hired Bo Young Lee for the new position, Recode reported Monday. Lee previously served as the global diversity and inclusion officer at insurance and services firm Marsh & McLennan, and she will step into the new role with Uber in late March.
The ride-hailing giant is desperate to repair its public image after former employee Susan Fowler published a damning account of what it’s like for women to work at the company, sparking a series revelations that culminated in the departure of beleaguered founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick. In her report, Fowler exposed a culture of sexual harassment and backstabbing. Following public criticism, Uber hired former attorney general Eric Holder to investigate the company’s culture.
In a 13-page report, Holder made 47 recommendations for improving the company, including elevating the status of its head of diversity, Bernard Coleman, and having him report directly to newly minted CEO Dara Khosrowshahi or chief operating officer Barney Harford. Instead, Lee will report to the company’s chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey, and Coleman will report to Lee. An Uber spokesperson told Recode the company will later reassess whether or not Lee should report directly to CEO Khosrowshahi.
Uber proved the need for a strong diversity officer when it released its first diversity report in March, a move to offer more transparency to the public. The data it provided shows 64 percent of its employees are male, and 50 percent are white. Tech jobs are even less inclusive, with 85 percent male and 94 percent white or Asian. For Uber, hiring a seasoned diversity officer is at least a step in the right direction.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.