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Uber fires APAC chief for accessing, sharing Delhi rape victim's records

Exec thought the incident was orchestrated by Ola; Founder Travis Kalanick knew of his actions

Alnoor Peermohamed  |  Bengaluru 

Uber
At the moment, Uber’s brand is in tatters. It has weathered a long series of scandals and controversies stemming from its aggressive fight against regulators and competitors. Photo: Reuters

US ride-hailing company Uber fired a senior executive who obtained medical records of a passenger who was raped by her Uber driver in India, on the pretext of investigating whether it was a ploy by competitor to sabotage its India operations.

According to two reports by ReCode and The New York Times, Eric Alexander, who served as the President of Business for the Asia Pacific region, was terminated on Tuesday after reporters began contacting the company about the incident.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India in December 2014 is the latest in a line of incidents that prove widespread dysfunction in the top management at San Francisco-based Uber.

of the 26-year-old woman being raped by her Uber driver in Delhi had led to massive repercussions for the company, which was later banned by the Delhi government. The issue had brought up serious questions about the safety of ride-hailing services, with people pointing fingers at Uber for being so lax about driver background checks. 

While being publicly apologetic, some executives, including Alexander, believed that the incident was a ploy by Uber’s local rival to sabotage its business in India. Sources at Uber told ReCode and NYT that Alexander was already in India at the time of the incident and obtained the medical records of the victim and ran his own parallel investigation.

Despite the case being a criminal investigation, Alexander kept the documents for over a year before other executives allegedly got to know of it and destroyed it. In that time, Alexander showed the report to CEO and SVP Emil Michael, apart from numerous other executives, who tried to poke holes in the woman’s claims of being raped by her Uber driver.

The victim later settled with Uber for a reported $3 million, reports said.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India is one of the 215 claims that law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling are investigating at Uber. These range from misconduct, sexism and sexual harassment, for which Uber even told employees it has fired 20 people so far and another 100 are still being investigated or have seen some type of action.

The NYT report said employees were surprised to learn that Alexander was not one among the 20 employees who were fired. More disturbing is that he was only let go once reporters began asking questions about his actions, despite Kalanick and several other high-level executives having knowledge of what he had done.

The incident in Delhi in December 2014 led to several widespread changes for India’s ride-hailing sector. While only Uber was implicated, even faced the heat when the Delhi government banned all ride-hailing services in the city.

A few other cities followed suit, leading both Uber and to improve their background verification methods, introduce SOS buttons within their apps and even physical buttons in the cars themselves. However, instances of violence by drivers of Uber and cabs do continue to crop up intermittently despite this.

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Uber fires APAC chief for accessing, sharing Delhi rape victim's records

Exec thought the incident was orchestrated by Ola; Founder Travis Kalanick knew of his actions

Exec thought the incident was orchestrated by Ola; Founder Travis Kalanick knew of his actions
US ride-hailing company Uber fired a senior executive who obtained medical records of a passenger who was raped by her Uber driver in India, on the pretext of investigating whether it was a ploy by competitor to sabotage its India operations.

According to two reports by ReCode and The New York Times, Eric Alexander, who served as the President of Business for the Asia Pacific region, was terminated on Tuesday after reporters began contacting the company about the incident.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India in December 2014 is the latest in a line of incidents that prove widespread dysfunction in the top management at San Francisco-based Uber.

of the 26-year-old woman being raped by her Uber driver in Delhi had led to massive repercussions for the company, which was later banned by the Delhi government. The issue had brought up serious questions about the safety of ride-hailing services, with people pointing fingers at Uber for being so lax about driver background checks. 

While being publicly apologetic, some executives, including Alexander, believed that the incident was a ploy by Uber’s local rival to sabotage its business in India. Sources at Uber told ReCode and NYT that Alexander was already in India at the time of the incident and obtained the medical records of the victim and ran his own parallel investigation.

Despite the case being a criminal investigation, Alexander kept the documents for over a year before other executives allegedly got to know of it and destroyed it. In that time, Alexander showed the report to CEO and SVP Emil Michael, apart from numerous other executives, who tried to poke holes in the woman’s claims of being raped by her Uber driver.

The victim later settled with Uber for a reported $3 million, reports said.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India is one of the 215 claims that law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling are investigating at Uber. These range from misconduct, sexism and sexual harassment, for which Uber even told employees it has fired 20 people so far and another 100 are still being investigated or have seen some type of action.

The NYT report said employees were surprised to learn that Alexander was not one among the 20 employees who were fired. More disturbing is that he was only let go once reporters began asking questions about his actions, despite Kalanick and several other high-level executives having knowledge of what he had done.

The incident in Delhi in December 2014 led to several widespread changes for India’s ride-hailing sector. While only Uber was implicated, even faced the heat when the Delhi government banned all ride-hailing services in the city.

A few other cities followed suit, leading both Uber and to improve their background verification methods, introduce SOS buttons within their apps and even physical buttons in the cars themselves. However, instances of violence by drivers of Uber and cabs do continue to crop up intermittently despite this.
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Business Standard
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Uber fires APAC chief for accessing, sharing Delhi rape victim's records

Exec thought the incident was orchestrated by Ola; Founder Travis Kalanick knew of his actions

US ride-hailing company Uber fired a senior executive who obtained medical records of a passenger who was raped by her Uber driver in India, on the pretext of investigating whether it was a ploy by competitor to sabotage its India operations.

According to two reports by ReCode and The New York Times, Eric Alexander, who served as the President of Business for the Asia Pacific region, was terminated on Tuesday after reporters began contacting the company about the incident.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India in December 2014 is the latest in a line of incidents that prove widespread dysfunction in the top management at San Francisco-based Uber.

of the 26-year-old woman being raped by her Uber driver in Delhi had led to massive repercussions for the company, which was later banned by the Delhi government. The issue had brought up serious questions about the safety of ride-hailing services, with people pointing fingers at Uber for being so lax about driver background checks. 

While being publicly apologetic, some executives, including Alexander, believed that the incident was a ploy by Uber’s local rival to sabotage its business in India. Sources at Uber told ReCode and NYT that Alexander was already in India at the time of the incident and obtained the medical records of the victim and ran his own parallel investigation.

Despite the case being a criminal investigation, Alexander kept the documents for over a year before other executives allegedly got to know of it and destroyed it. In that time, Alexander showed the report to CEO and SVP Emil Michael, apart from numerous other executives, who tried to poke holes in the woman’s claims of being raped by her Uber driver.

The victim later settled with Uber for a reported $3 million, reports said.

Alexander’s handling of the situation in India is one of the 215 claims that law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling are investigating at Uber. These range from misconduct, sexism and sexual harassment, for which Uber even told employees it has fired 20 people so far and another 100 are still being investigated or have seen some type of action.

The NYT report said employees were surprised to learn that Alexander was not one among the 20 employees who were fired. More disturbing is that he was only let go once reporters began asking questions about his actions, despite Kalanick and several other high-level executives having knowledge of what he had done.

The incident in Delhi in December 2014 led to several widespread changes for India’s ride-hailing sector. While only Uber was implicated, even faced the heat when the Delhi government banned all ride-hailing services in the city.

A few other cities followed suit, leading both Uber and to improve their background verification methods, introduce SOS buttons within their apps and even physical buttons in the cars themselves. However, instances of violence by drivers of Uber and cabs do continue to crop up intermittently despite this.

image
Business Standard
177 22