SAN FRANCISCO – Uber Technologies Inc. pushed out its human-resources chief after an internal investigation into her department’s handling of racial discrimination claims, according to people familiar with the company’s actions.
The departure of Liane Hornsey, who joined Uber in early 2017 from SoftBank Group Corp., was announced to staff Tuesday in an email from Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
The email, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, praised her as “talented, creative and hardworking.”
The people familiar with the company’s move said Hornsey resigned under pressure, following internal reports that she turned a blind eye to charges by anonymous employees of racial discrimination at the ride-hailing firm.
Hornsey was the subject of a probe by one of Uber’s outside law firms into those claims, they said.
Hornsey didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.
Her departure and the investigation leading to it were reported earlier by Reuters.
Hornsey was hired by Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick shortly before an explosive blog post February 2017 by former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler detailing alleged sexual harassment and discrimination at the Silicon Valley startup.
Hornsey took a lead on responding to those allegations, and established new anonymous complaint systems and vowed to increase minority and female hiring.
Uber grappled with nearly a year of scandal and legal headaches, propelled by Fowler’s allegations.
Kalanick was pushed out in June 2017 partly due to the findings of a report Uber commissioned from former United States Attorney General Eric Holder detailing a litany of allegations, which led to 20 firings.
Hornsey held hundreds of “listening sessions” at Uber to hear employee complaints and helped to revamp the review process.
In an interview with the Journal last year she said hiring minorities and women was a priority.
She said the company had identified 1,800 women in academia and professional engineering who could be potentially be hired by Uber.
She will be replaced temporarily by a deputy, Pranesh Anthapur, as Uber conducts a search for a permanent replacement, according to the company.