Saturday 21 April 2018

Ryanair's Bonderman quits Uber over 'inappropriate' remark in sexism row

Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Billionaire Ryanair chairman David Bonderman has resigned from the board of embattled car-sharing firm Uber following a comment he made at a company meeting about the harassment of women and other conduct in the company.

The meeting was held to discuss a report prepared for the company on how to improve its culture amid sexism complaints.

Uber board member Arianna Huffington told the meeting that the company had recently appointed Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello to the Uber board, whose only other female board member is Ms Huffington. "There is a lot of data what shows that when there is one woman on the board, it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board," Ms Huffington said.

Mr Bonderman, who's been chairman of Ryanair since 1996 and is known for sometimes making wry quips at the airline's AGMs, immediately commented: "I'll tell you what it shows, is that there's much more likely to be more talking on the board."

"Oh, come on David," replied Ms Huffington in a leaked recording of the meeting.

Hours later, Mr Bonderman (74), who's the founding partner of private equity group TPG Capital, tendered his resignation from the Uber board. He apologised and descried his comment as disrespectful and inappropriate. "Uber is examining the issues with its culture, and making significant changes and working to right what has been done wrong, which is extremely important for the future of the company," he said in a statement.

"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."

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is taking a leave of absence following the publication of the report.

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