CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Black lawmakers urge Uber to diversify its leadership

The Congressional Black Caucus sends a letter to the embattled ride-hailing service, urging it to make diversity a priority when filling top-level jobs.

A coalition of black lawmakers wants Uber to diversify its top ranks. 

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter Monday to the embattled ride-hailing company, urging Uber's board to consider African American candidates for its top post after CEO Travis Kalanick was forced to step down last week. 

SiriusXM's Joe Madison Hosts A Roundtable Of Veteran Journalists, Politicians & Political Commentators To Discuss President Trump's First 100 Days

Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, wants Uber to place more African Americans in leadership roles. 

Getty Images

The CBC's letter, addressed to Uber Chairman Garrett Camp, noted that the company didn't have blacks in key high-level posts that are now vacant, such as chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer and general counsel, nor on its board. These are positions the CBC said it believes would "benefit" from African American leadership. The CBC also wants Uber to provide a written, detailed plan on what steps the company will take to hire more diverse leadership. 

"Given the broad reach of Uber and the impact it continues to have on communities across the country, we remain vigilant of developments within the company," said the letter signed by CBC Chair Cedric Richmond and three other prominent members.

Uber responded in a statement that it's committed to making the company a "more diverse and inclusive workplace at all levels of the organization, and we'll continue to engage with community leaders like the CBC as we work to achieve this important goal."

The CBC's letter comes less than a week after Uber investors pressured Kalanick into resigning. It also comes as Uber -- a privately held company valued at almost $70 billion that operates in more than 60 countries -- is struggling to regain its footing. 

In early June, the San Francisco-based company fired more than 20 employees after one internal investigation into sexual harassment was completed. A separate investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder that wrapped up in mid-June made recommendations to improve the workplace environment. Both probes arose from ex-Uber engineer Susan Fowler's blog post in February detailing allegations of sexual harassment, sexism and unprofessional business practices.

Earlier this month, Uber hired two women for key roles: former Apple exec Bozoma Saint John as chief brand officer, and Frances Frei, a Harvard Business School professor, as senior vice president for leadership and strategy. Frei will train all managers.

According to the CBC's letter, Uber isn't the only tech company that needs to improve its hiring, promoting and retaining of African Americans. Citing the launch of a tech-focused diversity task force two years ago, the CBC said, "we cautioned leaders in the tech community that its lack of African American inclusion was bad for business and for the country."

But the CBC singled out Uber for improvement in its workforce diversity. The CBC also sent a letter to Uber in November with concerns about rider discrimination.  

"As a company that seeks to 'create possibilities for riders, drivers, and cities,' we encourage you to use this moment to emerge as a leader on diversity and inclusion and set a standard that your peers should emulate," the caucus wrote.