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July 4, 2017

Uber turmoil: Can Arianna Huffington come to the rescue?

Uber is at an all time low following a chain of structurally damaging events, is this the change the company needs?

By Tom Ball

Following major controversy and a shakeup in leadership, Uber board member Arianna Huffington has emerged as the public face of the company.

The troubled period for the company has included the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick, grievances regarding sexual harassment, and unrest following a sexist comment from a board member who was attending a meeting addressing the issue of sexism.

Kalanick had become close friends with Huffington following her arrival to the Uber board, and was considered a confident of the CEO.

“I felt that neither he nor the company should go through a protracted public fight. But it was entirely his decision.” Huffington told the Financial Times.

The Financial Times also reported that a shareholder said, “Had Travis fought the investors, you would have had a civil war, and she helped prevent that.”

Uber turmoil: Can Arianna Huffington come to the rescue?

An allegation of sexual harassment from a 25-year-old engineer, Susan Fowler, has also contributed massively to the declining company name. Arianna Huffington did however defend Uber, saying that the issue of sexual harassment was not “systemic” within the company.

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With Huffington at the helm, Uber may weather the storm of controversy surrounding the issue of sexism more easily, as she is a staunch advocate for the advancement of women in the workplace.

While speaking at the Microsoft Business Forward event 2017 in London, Huffington spoke about being the first woman on the board of Uber, and her immediate intention to bring another woman into the ranks.

Why women bring much more than ‘talking’ to the table, David Bonderman

She achieved this goal and believes it can have a snowball effect; this theory could be proven as there are plans to add a further two independent directors.

Famous for innovation and changing directions, Arianna Huffington may seek to alter the culture of Uber. She vehemently promotes the improvement of toxic workplace environments, and furthering understanding that “the human operating system is not a machine.”

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