Uber pays $ 26 billion for toxic corporate culture

Bad corporate culture has always been a difficult problem to quantify or regulate. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come at a cost to organizations.

The problematic culture of Australia’s banking industry, which has been plagued by scandals in the areas of financial advice, insurance and foreign exchange, has given the federal government an excuse to hit the big banks with a $ 6.2 billion tax. dollars.

This is a much larger fine than expected for banks, which previously believed that financial penalties would be limited to compensating victimized customers.

Uber, meanwhile, fired more than 20 employees after a company investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and workplace culture.

This is the result of former Uber engineer Susan Fowler going public with allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination, prompting the company to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate these allegations.

The story sparked much debate about sexism and misconduct in Silicon Valley startups and was a salutary tale for other entrepreneurial companies whose governance structures had not kept pace with their growth.

Rot starting at the top

In Uber’s case, its major investors clearly believed the rot had started at the top of the organization and with its founder, Travis Kalanick. He resigned in mid-June, after announcing earlier that he would take indefinite leave. Shareholders thought it had not gone far enough.

And it was hard to ignore Kalanick’s contribution to the rot of Uber culture when he was filmed yelling at an Uber driver who complained about the drop in rates.

“Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” he railed. “They blame everything in their life on someone else. Good luck!”

An avalanche of senior executives, including the CFO, have left the company in recent weeks and months in the wake of the various scandals, leaving a company scrambling to fill a variety of key leadership positions.

Whether Kalanick’s departure is significant enough to break his influence over management remains to be seen. He is still on the board and says he will be available to help.

Allegations of assault

Meanwhile, the lack of governance can also be blamed for another major problem that has besieged Uber – the behavior of its drivers.

In addition to the rape charges which are plentiful (The Independent newspaper reports that there were 32 cases of sexual assault by Uber drivers in the UK last year), there are numerous other assault complaints.

While not all complaints are valid, the rising tide of negative publicity is clearly scaring investors.


Because Uber is not publicly traded, its valuation is established when shares are privately traded or new capital is raised.

Markets were waiting for Uber to go public this year in what was previously considered a major IPO. They may have to wait a little longer.

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