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Uber’s search for a female CEO will end with a man in charge

Several top female executives have reportedly turned down the job.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Aug 7, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:25 pm CDT

You’d think a surefire way for Uber to rebound from disturbing sexual harassment allegations would be to hire a female CEO—someone who can manage the frat-bro culture that has crushed the company’s reputation over the years. It turns out, the ride-hailing giant tried to do just that. There’s just one small problem: No one wants the job.

According to a report from the Washington Post, a number of “A-list” female executives were approached with the opportunity to replace former CEO Travis Kalanick at the world’s most valuable ride-hailing company, but every single one turned down the offer. The company has reportedly narrowed down its candidate pool to three white men, according to unnamed sources speaking to the Post.

Even though it left empty-handed following a nationwide search to find a female leader, Uber can at least say it tried. Among the top prospects were Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki. Both reportedly declined the position. General Motor’s CEO Mary Barra and EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall also reportedly shot down the offer.

And in three tweets, HP CEO Meg Whitman debunked rumors surrounding her involvement with the ride-hailing giant.




A New York Times report suggests Whitman turned her back to the company after Kalanick and a group of his allies tried to sabotage other board member’s efforts to elect a new leader. The report says Kalanick and co. had a “competing agenda” that would put the company’s founder back into an operations role, potentially as chief executive.

“We are disappointed, of course,” Joelle Emerson, chief of diversity consultancy Paradigm, told the Post. “It could have communicated a commitment on the company’s part to having a more inclusive culture. Though certainly I don’t think hiring a woman would have guaranteed that.”

The Washington Post report claims Uber will choose its new leader by Labor Day (Sept. 4) and will likely select a white male from an “old-school” American industry. While the report didn’t include the names of all candidates, GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt is reportedly one of the three linked to the position.

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*First Published: Aug 7, 2017, 12:48 pm CDT