Liane Hornsey, Uber's head of HR, sent an email to staff announcing her departure yesterday. Her resignation came a day after Reuters reportedly reached out to Uber about an investigation into allegations that Hornsey and the human resources department dismissed racial discrimination complaints from employees.
“We are confident that the investigation was conducted in an unbiased, thorough and credible manner, and that the conclusions of the investigation were addressed appropriately," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to Refinery29.
According to Reuters, Hornsey said in a farewell email that she had been considering leaving Uber for some time.
Hornsey joined Uber in January 2017, a month before Susan Fowler published her viral blog post about the company's toxic culture that ultimately led to the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick and the firing of top executives. Hornsey was viewed as one of a few senior level women, alongside Bozoma Saint John, Uber's Chief Brand Officer, Frances Frei, the SVP of Leadership & Strategy, and Rachel Holt, Uber's regional general manager of the U.S. and Canada, who could set a new course for the company.
Hornsey's resignation makes Holt, now Uber's head of New Modalities, the only one still actively involved in the company on a day-to-day basis from that list: Saint John left in June to become CMO of entertainment company Endeavor; Frei stepped down from her role in February, though she still serves as an advisor.
In an interview conducted in June 2017, shortly after former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder finished his investigation into the company's culture, Hornsey told Refinery29 she felt positively about changes that had been made: "“We have traditionally underinvested in HR. But since I joined in January, I’ve since doubled the size of my team and now we have many more processes in place so people can come to us quickly and more importantly, we can take swift action. For example, we have a new employee relations team, who are solely dedicated to addressing people’s concerns. We have a zero tolerance for bad behaviour at Uber now.”
However, Hornsey drew criticism from others in the tech community after an October 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal, when she responded to a question about implementation of the Rooney Rule, an effort to increase the number of women and minorities in leadership positions, saying, "I’ve got to be honest, it’s going to be bloody hard when it comes to engineering. We’re starting where it’s easier, such as in my function, where there are more women. I’m really scratching my head about how the hell I do this in engineering, and I’m going to really have to try."
According to The Wall Street Journal, a deputy, Pranesh Anthapur, will serve as Uber's interim head of HR.