Uber Hires First Chief Diversity Officer as Part of Corporate Overhaul

It's an indication that Uber is sincere about reforming its culture.

Uber
Eric Risberg—AP

In an effort to reform a toxic corporate culture, Uber has hired its first chief diversity officer. Creation of this position was recommended in a report last year compiled in response to allegations of sexual harassment made by former employee Susan Fowler. Those allegations triggered an investigation that unearthed other troubling issues at the ride-sharing company.

The new position will be filled by Bo Young Lee, who is currently the global head of diversity and inclusion at financial services firm Marsh & McLennan. Lee will start in her new role in March, according to Recode.

Uber previously had a position titled "Head of Diversity," held by Bernard Coleman. But in a report last year, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his law partner, Tammy Albarran, recommended that Uber "elevate the visibility" of Coleman. They recommended that Uber rename the position "Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer," and have Coleman report directly to the CEO and COO.

"This action is intended to reflect the elevated status of this role and demonstrate the company's commitment to this issue," the report said.

While the Uber board voted unanimously to implement the report's recommendations, it decided to hire Lee rather than elevate Coleman (who remains at Uber). Lee also won't report directly to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and COO Barney Harford, at least not initially. She will report to chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey. An Uber spokesperson told Recode that, after she gets settled, the company will determine if Lee will continue reporting to Hornsey or report to Khosrowshahi, as Holder and Albarran recommended.

Lee's appointment is an indication that Uber is serious about reforming itself. In recent months, the company has made some effort to address the concerns of its drivers, and has taken a less antagonistic attitude toward regulators. But there is still some bad blood between drivers and Uber, and the company faces numerous legal issues left over from previous CEO Travis Kalanick.