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Technology

The Uber manager who headed Susan Fowler’s department has departed

AG Gangadhar, the head of the engineering department where former Uber employee Susan Fowler worked, has left the car-hailing startup.

The circumstances of his departure are unclear. But, as director of the infrastructure engineering group, Gangadhar was among the managers Fowler referenced in her explosive blog post about the year of sexism, sexual harassment and widespread mismanagement she endured at the ride-hail company, according to sources.

Uber confirmed his departure, adding that it’s unrelated to Fowler’s issues and that all her claims were investigated by law firm Perkins Coie. The company said it has taken every recommended action Perkins Coie made as part of the investigation, including firing 20 employees.

“We thank AG for his contributions to Uber and wish him all the best in his next endeavor,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

Throughout her essay, Fowler referenced a series of managers who had mismanaged her complaints about sexism and sexual harassment. Specifically, Gangadhar was referenced — though not by name — when Fowler wrote about a transfer to another team being blocked.

Several sources said this part of her blog is referring to Gangadhar, who is the “director” named:

“According to my manager, his manager, and the director, my transfer was being blocked because I had undocumented performance problems. I pointed out that I had a perfect performance score, and that there had never been any complaints about my performance. I had completed all OKRs on schedule, never missed a deadline even in the insane organizational chaos, and that I had managers waiting for me to join their team. I asked what my performance problem was, and they didn’t give me an answer.”

In addition, emails that Recode obtained indicate that engineers within Fowler’s department complained to higher-ups that Gangadhar and a subordinate manager were ignoring Fowler’s issues with another manager who had allegedly sexually harassed her.

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“Multiple people are pissed off about this stuff being swept under the rug and not being taken more seriously that a new [lady engineer] was sexually harassed by a former manager,” read one email sent to Uber CTO Thuan Pham’s former executive assistant. That person later responded that Pham was aware of the situation and would discuss it with human resources.

That manager who Fowler claimed harassed her was fired five months after she first complained about him to human resources.

Fowler also mentioned Pham in her essay and said she reported the manager who blocked her transfer directly to him and nothing was done.

Some staffers said they were surprised that both Pham and Gangadhar remained in their positions, while other top executives as high-profile as Uber SVP Emil Michael and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick have been forced to resign.

The disconnect between Kalanick’s departure and Pham’s continued employment was highlighted in an internal email that circulated an employee petition to let Kalanick return to the company.

“Meanwhile, can someone explain to me where Thuan Pham resides here?” one staffer wrote in the email thread. “He was the only executive to make an appearance in Susan’s story and somehow this fact is repeatedly lost in the wind, as Susan herself pointed out today in her tweets. Can we just have some kind of public accountability for the concrete issue that has brought Uber to this extremely low point?”

However, sources say Pham has told staffers he had been exonerated by the two investigations, one done by Perkins Coie and the other done by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm Covington & Burling.

The Information reported that part of the evidence Pham presented to the firms included an Oct. 25 email in which he assured Fowler she would not be fired for reporting her manager and that bad management was not acceptable. That said, it’s not clear what happened in the aftermath of that exchange.

The manager who allegedly blocked Fowler’s transfer was not fired but left the company in April 2017, two months after Fowler published her essay.

By Johana Bhuiyan, Recode.net.

CNBC’s parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode’s parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

Source: Tech CNBC
The Uber manager who headed Susan Fowler’s department has departed

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