Uber's Whole Diversity Play Isn't Working Out So Well

Illustration for article titled Uber's Whole Diversity Play Isn't Working Out So Well
Image: AP

Well, that was fast: Uber’s chief brand officer, Bozoma Saint John, has announced that she’s departing the company after just one year.

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Saint John, you might recall, was poached from Apple in a bid to diversify Uber’s top brass after the company was called out for its pathetic lack of women and people of color. Now, she’s leaving the company for the entertainment company Endeavor.

Though it’s unclear what exactly prompted Saint John decided to leave, one thing is definite: Her mandate at Uber was not the easiest, tasked as she was with turning around the company’s image after a string of embarrassing, bad press. As she told Recode when she took the job last year:

“I know what I’m walking into. I think it’s a really exciting time to tell the story well. Certainly there have been lots of things that have been swirling around [about] Uber but I’m interested in telling the story about the service and what is happening from the brand standpoint.”

Saint John was hired under erstwhile CEO Travis Kalanick, and according to Recode was “chafing” under new leadership brought on by current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Despite her decision to leave, Khosrowshahi still found it within himself to write a gracious statement:

“Boz joined Uber at a time when the company was hurting—but her energy, optimism and creativity have been a key part of our ongoing turnaround. Endeavor is lucky to have her, and I’m excited to watch her work in her new role.”

Not that I would ever give Uber undue credit but for the record, that’s how you part with former employees!

DISCUSSION

Once a company hires you for “diversity” you are fucked. The implication is already there that you are there not for your qualifications (which this lady has aplenty) but to make the company look good. Since you’re not an organic hire, you are never really plugged in as part of the family. Every move and suggestion you make is tainted by “diversity”. You’re boxed in before you even started.