Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Travis Kalanick is back, Sheryl Sandberg speaks up about Cambridge Analytica, and scientists have (finally!) developed a safe male birth control pill. Have a lovely Thursday.
• Bad boys bounce back. On Tuesday, Uber’s founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick announced that his fund, 10100, has acquired a controlling stake in City Storage Systems, a holding company that invests in distressed real estate assets. The kicker: He is now that company’s chief executive. As a reminder, Kalanick resigned from his role as Uber CEO in June, after it emerged that (among other issues) his company had developed a toxic culture—particularly for women, as revealed by former engineer Susan Fowler’s viral blog post. (The video of Kalanick harassing an Uber driver and the reveal that a senior exec at the company had illegally obtained a customer’s medical records after an alleged rape certainly didn’t help his case.)
Erin Griffith, Wired writer and Fortune alum (hi Erin!), points out that Kalanick isn’t the only “bad boy” to get a free pass. What has happened to tech CEOs who were forced out after it emerged that they or others at their companies mistreated women? Not much, recent history shows. Former SoFi CEO Michael Cagney, who stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations just six months ago, is already pitching investors on a new fintech startup. BetterWorks CEO Kris Duggan, who stepped down last July after an employee sued him and the company over an alleged assault, is currently hiring for a new company (for which he’s already acquired staff and raised funding).
While it could be argued that everyone deserves a second chance, I’m personally convinced by Erin’s take:
“It would be easier to grant a second chance to those founders if tech offered an equal playing field to everyone. Only 2 percent of venture funding went to female-only founding teams in 2017. Why should harassers and rule-breakers get a second chance when so many women and minorities are never offered a first chance? Making matters worse, many of the so-called ‘bad boys’ have contributed to that inequality through harassment or discrimination. It’s a troubling trend for an industry that, having amassed power and riches, is desperate to shake its reputation for hostile treatment of women and minorities while disregarding ethics in pursuit of disruption.”
What do you think? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original version of this post said that Duggan was sued over an alleged rape. He was sued over an alleged assault in July 2017, a lawsuit that was dismissed in January 2018. A third party investigator found no wrongdoing. We deeply regret the error.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Make that a double. In an attempt to eliminate pay disparities based on gender and race, Starbucks announced yesterday that it would achieve and maintain equal pay for all employees around the world (it says it has already done this domestically). The coffee chain has been analyzing pay for the past decade and says it regularly analyzes raises and bonuses to make sure they are equitable.
• Sheryl shines a light. You’ve no doubt read about how Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that provided voter-targeting services to the Trump campaign, improperly obtained data on 50 million Facebook users. The social network’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, finally weighed in on the news yesterday in a Facebook post, saying that the company has “a responsibility to protect your data – and if we can’t, then we don’t deserve to serve you.” She then outlined the steps the company is taking to reduce data access.
• A path for diverse talent. Nike, MailChimp, and digital product design company InVision are among those trying to foster and hire a more diverse tech workforce through TalentPath, a new initiative from the coding school Treehouse and Boys & Girls Clubs. Employers sponsor students to take a nine-month, part-time, online coding course and guarantee those who graduate a three-month, full-time apprenticeship on their engineering teams. They can then offer them jobs.
• Ronna rakes it in. Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel (yes, she’s related to Mitt—his niece) has kept a relatively low profile in Washington, choosing to focus on the operations of the RNC over public appearances. Yet she’s quietly smashing fundraising records for the organization, raising more money than any other chair in any party at this point in the midterm cycle, according to her staff ($157.7 million as of February).
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: JPMorgan & Chase has appointed Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, to its board of directors. Hall of Fame women’s basketball player Nancy Lieberman has been hired as a head coach in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league. Best Friends Animal Society has promoted Julie Castle to CEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Men on the pill? Scientists have created a safe male birth control pill—but it has at least one of the same problems that plague female birth control pills: it causes the men to gain weight. (My take: suck it up!)
• What a scientist looks like. A social experiment conducted since the 1960s asks children to draw scientists. Between 1985 and 2016, 28% of children drew women scientists, compared to just 1% in the studies before 1980. The split looks very different among younger children: for six-year-olds, 70% of girls and 83% of boys drew scientists of their own gender.
• Une bonne idée. As part of new legislation against sexual violence, France is introducing on-the-spot fines for sexual harassment in public places and lengthening the time-limit for filing rape complaints. The legislation will go to parliament in the coming months.