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Uber board member resigns after sexist comment about female colleagues

Posted at 4:38 AM, Jun 14, 2017

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Uber is having a tough time getting a fresh start.

In the midst of announcing the findings from a sweeping sexual harassment investigation, a board member made a joke about gender stereotypes, adding even more fuel to claims of a toxic culture.

On Tuesday afternoon, investor David Bonderman, a member of Uber's board, said having more women on the board would just lead to more talking, according to leaked audio obtained by Yahoo Finance. On Tuesday night, he announced in a statement that he was resigning from the board, calling his comment "careless, inappropriate and inexcusable."

It's the latest hit for the company. Earlier Tuesday, CEO Travis Kalanick said he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to grieve the death of his mother. On Monday, senior executive Emil Michael announced that he was resigning. Michael was Kalanick's No. 2, and both men had been mentioned alongside multiple scandals recently.

Michael visited an escort bar in South Korea with Kalanick and other employees in 2014. He was also reported to have been one of the executives who viewed medical records of a woman who had been raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi.

Last week, 20 people were fired after a separate investigation into harassment at Uber.

Tuesday's all-hands meeting was a forum to share the findings of an investigation into workplace culture at Uber. Former Attorney General Eric Holder had been hired after blockbuster sexual harassment allegations by Susan Fowler, a former engineer, in February.

It made Bonderman's comment that much more egregious. Arianna Huffington, another board member, was talking about the recent addition of Wan Lang Martello -- she'll be the second woman on Uber's board. "There's a lot of data that shows when there's one woman on the board, it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board."

"Actually what it shows is it's much more likely to be more talking," said Bonderman, a founding partner at private equity firm TPG, which has invested in Uber.

Huffington laughed uncomfortably at the time, but Tuesday night, she didn't mince words.

"I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company," she said in a statement.