Uber’s chief people officer quits amid a racial discrimination investigation

Uber issues.
Uber issues.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
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Uber’s chief people officer Liane Hornsey resigned on Tuesday (July 10), amid an investigation into how she handled allegations of racial discrimination at the company.

Hornsey, who was head of HR, said in an email to her team at the ride hailing firm, according to Reuters and other media outlets, that her exit “comes a little out of the blue for some of you, but I have been thinking about this for a while.” She did not give a reason for her resignation. Meanwhile Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent a memo to staff about Hornsey, calling her “incredibly talented, creative, and hard-working” but did not cite why she was leaving.

Hornsey took up the role of chief people officer 18 months ago when the group was besieged with allegations of widespread gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Over the last few months, a group of anonymous whistleblowers at Uber claimed that Hornsey had systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination. Their allegations include her using discriminatory language and making derogatory comments about Uber global head of diversity and inclusion Bernard Coleman. The group also claim Hornsey was ultimately behind former chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John’s departure from Uber. The whistleblowers claimed Hornsey had threatened and denigrated Saint John, who ending up leaving Uber only a year into the job. They also claimed complaints, especially if they dealt with race, filed to Uber’s anonymous tip line were often left unresolved or were dismissed.

Hornsey has not publicly addressed the allegations. Saint John told Reuters “I don’t have anything to say about my experience there.” Uber told the media group that the latest complaints had been properly investigated.