Hope Hicks, Ginni Thomas, UAE Awards: Broadsheet January 29
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hope Hicks adapts to Hollywood, men have some familiar (and infuriating) worries at Davos, and we meet Uber’s first-ever chief privacy officer. Have a terrific Tuesday.
• A first-ever privacy chief. To say Uber has a spotty history with privacy is, well, a vast understatement.
Recall that on occasion, it suggested digging into the personal lives of some of its critics. At one point it tried to hide a massive data breach that affected some 57 million passengers and drivers. And there was that time it illegally obtained the medical records of a woman in India who was raped by an Uber driver.
That all occurred under former CEO Travis Kalanick. Current chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi was hired, in part, to straighten out that mess. And he, in turn, brought in his own privacy clean-up crew. Leading that team is Ruby Zefo, the ride-sharing company’s first-ever chief privacy officer.
As my colleague Danielle Abril reports, the former Intel exec who joined Uber in August, has a huge task ahead of her, but she’s drilled it down to one simple mission: to provide drivers and riders with transparency and to create trust.
In reality, that feel-good goal means giving passengers more options for how much data they share with Uber and providing them with a peek at how their data is used. For instance, one newer privacy feature lets U.S. riders mask their pick-up address so drivers don’t know where riders live and so riders’ home addresses aren't stored in their user history.
That’s a nod to another one of Zefo’s rather simple philosophies: to let people use the service in a way that puts them at ease.
“There are certain things mandatory to the service—we have to pick you up somewhere,” she told Danielle. “But there are options we can give people. It’s about giving people choices that might make their experiences better.”
Those seem to be logical first steps in the long road to repairing Uber’s reputation, and Zefo, like her boss, appears to be approaching the process from a place of humility. “We made our mistake; we admitted it; we paid our price,” Zefo said. “Now it’s time to change the narrative.” Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Déjà vu in Davos. We've been through this before. Some senior male executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos said they're avoiding contact with younger women at their companies out of a fear of being accused of harassment or misconduct. We'll ask the same question we did last time: What were these men doing to support women before the #MeToo movement took off? New York Times
• Hollywood Hicks. What has Hope Hicks been doing in California? The answer, it seems, is enjoying being outshone by people more famous than her, working for New Fox, and waiting for the end of her time in "Hollywood jail." Vanity Fair
• More on Meng. The U.S. Justice Department on Monday filed formal criminal charges against Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou that accused the Chinese telecom-equipment giant of stealing trade secrets, obstructing justice, and committing bank fraud in an effort to skirt sanctions on Iran. The escalation of the spat adds another, complicated layer to U.S.-China trade negotiations and elicited a furious response from Beijing.
• Billie bucks. The personal-care market is still hot: Billie, the shaving startup geared toward women and co-founded by Georgina Gooley, raised $25 million in funding as it continues to grow. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Snap Inc. has named chief accountant Lara Sweet as its interim CFO. Electric Shepherd Production's Isa Dick Hackett, the executive producer of The Man in the High Castle who was at the center of the resignation of Roy Price from Amazon Studios over sexual harassment, signed a first-look deal at Amazon with new Amazon Studios head, Jennifer Salke. Jeanne Lim is the new CEO of Hanson Robotics. Angela Merkel received the 2018 Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Congrats, guys? File this under, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?: The United Arab Emirates held an awards ceremony to promote gender equality—and handed out all the awards to men. In fairness, those men, who represent various government ministries, were given awards for promoting maternity leave for women in Dubai's military and other achievements. But you'd think an equality award ceremony would attempt to reflect, well, equality. CNN
• An unusual Oval Office meeting. Have you heard much about Ginni Thomas? The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is active in far-right politics. Last week, she met with President Trump as the leader of a group that denounced women and transgender people serving in the military in what was certainly an unusual meeting for a Supreme Court spouse. New York Times
• Invasion of privacy? Alison Lundergan Grimes ran a high-profile campaign for Senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014; now the Kentucky secretary of state faces investigations into her office's practices of looking up voting records of political rivals, job applicants, and state employees. ProPublica
• Ask her (for) more. An intriguing study out of Spain finds that women ask for less when they're negotiating with a male boss than when they're working with a more senior woman. Crucially, this isn't based on a study of workplace negotiations—but on the behavior of contestants on a game show. It might seem like a surprising approach, but the researchers have a compelling argument for the similarities between the two scenarios. Quartz
ON MY RADAR
Redefining the, like, idea of the valley girl The New Yorker
The grueling work of being a maid and a single mother The Atlantic
Condé Nast to launch Vogue Business for fashion professionals Financial Times
The many faces of Glenn Close BuzzFeed