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Uber backs CEO, promises culture change

By Brooks Hays
Uber backs CEO, promises culture change
During a press call on March 21, 2017, Uber board member Arianna Huffington told reporters the company supports CEO Travis Kalanick. Photo by UPI/Madeline Marshall | License Photo

March 21 (UPI) -- Culture change is underway at Uber, according to company leaders.

In a press call on Tuesday, Uber board member Arianna Huffington told reporters the company supports CEO Travis Kalanick and his ongoing efforts to transform Uber's work environment for the better. Kalanick accepts responsibility for the problematic office culture, Huffington said.

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Huffington told reporters the board never considered asking for Kalanick's resignation.

"The board is confident in Travis and we are proceeding ahead with a search for the COO," she said.

Uber faced consumer backlash earlier this year after Kalanick agreed to join President Trump's economic advisory group. Kalanick later dropped out. In February, a female ex-engineer detailed her troubled tenure at Uber, describing a culture of sexism in a blog post that went viral. Not long after allegations of rampant sexism made headlines, the embattled CEO was caught on video berating an Uber driver in an argument over fares.

Huffington was joined on Tuesday's call by Rachel Holt, head of North American operations, Liane Hornsey, chief HR officer, and Rachel Whetstone, the company's lead communications officer.

Hornsey told reporters the company is reviewing and rewriting 1,500 job descriptions to ensure they are bias-free. She said employees will soon begin unconscious bias training. Hornsey also promised the company would release its diversity numbers later this month.

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Holt said the company continues to enjoy rapid growth despite the bad press and internal turmoil.

"[Uber has] grown faster in the first 10 weeks of 2017 than the first 10 weeks of 2016," she said. "Last week riders in the US took more trips with Uber than ever before."

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