The appointment comes as Uber battles multiple damaging scandals and prepares to release a report from former US attorney general Eric Holder into harassment and its workplace culture, amid multiple high-level executive departures.
The appointment of an independent board member — Wan Ling Martello — was reportedly one of its recommendations. Another is believed to be the departure of Emil Michael, a long-time confidante and right-hand man to CEO Travis Kalanick. Michael has become mired in controversy, and his exit may come as soon as Monday.
There are also reports that Kalanick is considering taking a leave of absence.
Over the last few months Uber has been roiled by scandal after scandal. The company’s crisis began in earnest with a blog post from an former engineer accusing it of sexism, and since then there have been numerous ugly episodes emerge, from a video of Kalanick angrily berating a driver after they complained about pay, to the revelation last week that exec Eric Alexander obtained the medical records of an Indian passenger raped by their driver and he, Kalanick, and Michael speculated as to whether it was a set-up by a competitor in the country.
Last week, the company announced that it had fired more than 20 employees after receiving more than 215 complaints about its workplace.
An Uber spokesperson did not immediately comment about Martello’s appointment. She is an executive vice president at Nestlé, and since 2015 she has been head of Asia, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also a member of the board of directors of Alibaba.
Uber recently appointed former Apple executive Bozoma Saint John as its chief brand officer and Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei is becoming SVP for strategy and leadership, Bloomberg reports.
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