Despite appearing to intend to hire a female chief executive as a means of reshaping Uber's corporate image as a fratty boys' club, it looks like Uber is going to end up with another white man at the helm. The Washington Post reports, via sources within the company, that the short list for the next CEO of the company is down to three white guys, one of whom is outgoing GE chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt.
The names of the other two candidates remain a mystery.
This could be for the best for some female CEO candidates who don't necessarily want to take the wheel of this unwieldy ship in a moment of very rocky seas. As the WaPo points out, via this 2013 journal article that tracked the promotions of women to CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies over 15 years, "white women, as well as women and men of color, [are] more likely than white men to get promoted to CEO when firms [are] performing poorly." In other words, in the corporate world of America, it's been taken as a given that a woman is the "fixer" in a time of crisis, but this also means that these women bear the brunt of the criticism when they fail to turn the ship around. Case in point: Marissa Mayer and Yahoo.
Mayer was briefly rumored to be considered for the Uber role, though that may never been the case. The WaPo lists several other candidates who were approached including YouTube's chief Susan Wojcicki, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall. And then there was onetime gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who was briefly floated as a possible candidate but who apparently dismissed the idea very quickly, if she was even approached at all.
Uber's board is said to be looking to make a decision on the CEO by Labor Day, and it does not sound like Travis Kalanick, who remains on the board, will succeed in "Steve Jobs-ing it" and returning to the role, at least not just yet.
Some female executives who spoke to the Washington Post noted that the reportedly sexist culture at the company is just one of many daunting problems to fix for the next CEO, and that some men have turned down the job as well. Another major problem: How to stop the company from hemorrhaging cash ($2.8 billion in 2016 despite net revenue of $6.5 billion) before it goes public.