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  • 06.21.17

Desperate For A New Chapter, Uber Adds TPG’s David Trujillo To Its Board

Trujillo will replace David Bonderman, whose sexist gaffe last week undermined the embattled company’s efforts to rehabilitate its image.

Desperate For A New Chapter, Uber Adds TPG’s David Trujillo To Its Board
[Photo: Unsplash user Jakob Owens]

Change is coming quickly to Uber. Following news this morning that CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned, the company has now confirmed that David Trujillo—the TPG Capital partner who led the firm’s investment in Uber—has joined its board.

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Trujillo will replace David Bonderman, whose epic gaffe at a companywide Uber meeting last week made all those promises to overhaul its company culture look cheap. During the meeting, in which Uber’s leadership shared the results of an investigation into corporate practices and behaviors, Arianna Huffington, another board member, was explaining the addition of Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello. She went onto cite data showing that companies with one woman on the board are more likely to attract more women board members.

Bonderman interrupted with a quip: “Actually, what it shows is, it’s more likely there’ll be more talking.”

An exasperated Huffington tried to brush off the comment and move on. After audio of the incident leaked, the internet was not so forgiving. By the following morning, Bonderman had not only apologized for the remark, but also resigned from the board.

Trujillo, 39, can hopefully bring a more evolved understanding of how to mature Uber’s workplace. In its guidance, Convington & Burling, the law firm that carried out the investigation, specifically recommended that Uber’s board help lead the company’s cultural transition by creating an oversight committee. But questions have arisen about who on Uber’s board is qualified to sit on such a committee.

In the past, Trujillo, who invests in internet-based technologies and digital media companies, has supported Uber’s decision to stay private, seemingly for the very reasons that Uber has been grappling with this year. (He also led investment in Airbnb, another major digital agitator and hugely valuable startup.) In an interview with CNBC last year, he said that for companies that have scaled quickly, like Uber and Airbnb, rushing to an IPO is not always the best solution for long-term prosperity. “They’ve gone through such hyperbolic growth that the ability to get your back office to catch up with your front office is one of the advantages of staying private longer,” he said.

Unfortunately for Uber, it hasn’t been able to avoid the kind of scrutiny usually reserved for public companies.

About the author

Ruth Reader is a writer for Fast Company who covers gig economy platforms, contract workers, and the future of jobs.

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