A company trying to recover from allegations of rampant sexism might reasonably think that hiring a female chief executive would help it restore credibility with customers and – perhaps more importantly – with potential employees in a tight marketplace for talent.
But what if no women wanted the job?
That looks to be the case for Uber, the troubled ride-hailing company trying to replace deposed chief executive Travis Kalanick after a reign defined by highflying growth and a toxic brand of corporate machismo. In the wake of Kalanick’s departure, a number of A-list female executives have made it clear they are not interested in the role.
Indeed, after a nationwide search that involved copiously combing through binders full of women across corporate America, the company has come up short. There are no women left on its current shortlist, which is down to three CEO candidates, according to people familiar with the search who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter freely.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was a top pick for the board, but she didn’t want the job. Neither did Susan Wojcicki, chief of Google-owned YouTube. General Motors chief executive Mary Barra and EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall, were reportedly approached, but did not pan out. Last week, HP chief executive Meg Whitman prominently took herself out of the running with a post on Twitter.