Uber’s Travis Kalanick, Defended by Arianna Huffington, Will Remain CEO

The top female board members at the ride-sharing company assure reporters: Trav will behave.

byMike Guy| UPDATED Mar 22, 2017 10:18 AM
Uber’s Travis Kalanick, Defended by Arianna Huffington, Will Remain CEO

Uber hosted a somewhat bizarre conference call during which the top-ranking board members of the embattled ridesharing company said that Travis Kalanick, Uber's founder and scandal plagued CEO will improve his behavior while staying at the top of the company.

The board members—including Arianna Huffington, Liane Hornsey, Uber's chief human resources officer, and Rachel Holt, the head of Uber's North American operations—assured a group of reporters that Kalanick can "fundamentally change" the company.

“There’s a real appetite for change internally,” said Huffington, who founded of the Huffington Post with Buzzfeed boss Jonah Peretti. “I want to make sure that the company we build at Uber reflects really the best in the workplace, so no woman ever has to choose between advancing her career and completely unacceptable treatment.”

The call is seen as yet another pale effort at controlling a string of damaging scandal at the Silicon Valley-based ride-sharing company. Over the past weeks, months and even years, Uber has faced one public relations crisis after another, from massive, nationwide strikes across multiple countries and continents, to damaging #DeleteUber campaign, to a sprawling sexual harassment scandal at home, to one high-profile departure after another. Finally, there is a potentially explosive intellectual property lawsuit and growing evidence that Uber used secret software to deceive law enforcement that just won't go away.

And of course, there is a growing perception that Uber fosters a bro-culture that would be considered bro-y even in the very bro-y world of Silicon Valley. Does a conference call with Arianna tamp out that fire?