Uber board member Arianna Huffington has said CEO Travis Kalanick must “absolutely not” step down and that people shouldn’t be judged by “their worst moments,” in an interview with CNN.
Huffington spent most of the interview defending Uber and Travis Kalanick, after continued turmoil at the company.
She is participating in Uber’s internal investigation into its workplace culture, after former employee Susan Fowler alleged sexism and harassment in a blog post. The investigation will conclude in early April, Huffington said.
She said that sexism was not a “systemic problem” at Uber, and that Kalanick was the “heart and soul” of the business.
Huffington added: “If [Travis Kalanick] had not acknowledged mistakes and not been willing to make changes, that would be another story. We cannot judge people by their worst moments, none of us would want to be judged by our worst moments … provided we learn, grow, and evolve. He has shown very clearly he’s changing.”
Despite her positive comments about Kalanick, Huffington said there had already been changes at the company.
She said there were new systems in place to make sure “brilliant jerks” didn’t rise to the top. “[These are] people who are ‘top performers’ but not aligned with the big cultural values at Uber,” she said. According to Huffington, more than 60% of managers were first-time managers and lacked training, because Uber had grown so quickly.
Her comments, made on Monday, came the day after Uber’s president of ride-sharing, Jeff Jones, stepped down. He blamed Uber’s approach to leadership for his decision, according to Recode. Kalanick is currently seeking a COO to help him lead the company, hiring executive search company Heidrick & Struggles to find one.
Here’s CNN’s full interview with Arianna Huffington on the Uber investigation:
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