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Graziadio Professor Talks Uber’s Future, Potential For Female CEO

Graziadio Professor Talks Uber Future

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, Practitioner Faculty of Organizational Theory and Management at the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management, recently wrote a Huffington Post article arguing that Uber would benefit from hiring a female CEO to fill the void left by former CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation. Ledbetter begins by summarizing some of the internal and public image issues the company has faced of late.

The company is currently fielding a law suit from the Equal Rights Center (ERC) for denying equal access to passengers in wheelchairs. The ERC claims that wheelchair-accessible cars are not offered in UberX fleet vehicles. Additionally, sexual harassment allegations have led to 20 employees being let go.

Ledbetter insists that hiring a female CEO is the way to recover from the company’s recent setbacks and foster a more ethical business. She lays out several reasons that support her thesis. The professor believes a woman at the top of Uber’s hierarchy will undercut the company’s macho “bro culture.” Ledbetter believes it is this culture that has led to many of Uber’s ethical missteps. The piece sites a PBS article that attributes Kalanick’s downfall to bro culture.

According to Ledbetter, a female CEO will also set the precedent that diversity is a priority for the company moving forward. As of now, despite representing 36 percent of Uber’s global workforce, women hold only 15 percent of technical positions. A woman as CEO would demonstrate Uber’s commitment to fixing this problem. The article describes women as “transformational leaders,” saying that a woman’s leadership style would promote feelings of trust and motivation among employees.

Ledbetter concludes the article, arguing that, “A new (female) face and a new perspective will rejuvenate the company, shot up customer loyalty and help divert some of the negative press that has besieged the company for the past few months.”

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