David Bonderman, the co-founder of buyout shop TPG Capital who resigned from Uber Technologies Inc.'s board on Tuesday June 13 after making sexist remarks, could find himself under scrutiny for his role as a board member at five public companies and numerous private ones.
Bonderman, 74, directed a comment at fellow Uber board member Arianna Huffington regarding Uber's female board members talking too much at a meeting that was held following an investigation into sexual harassment at the ride-share company. At the moment there are two women on Uber's seven-seat board.
The episode puts a spotlight on Bonderman's variety of directorships, and raises the question about whether other boards will be willing to keep him. According to relationship mapping service BoardEx, a service of The Street, Bonderman is on five public company boards and multiple private ones.
Bonderman serves on TPG Pace Energy Holdings Corp. (TPGEU), China International Capital Corp. Ltd., Kite Pharma Inc. (KITE) , Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR) and Ryanair Holdings Inc. (RYAAY) , according to BoardEx, the relationship mapping service of The Street Inc. As for private boards, Bonderman is a director at Cushman & Wakefield, XOJET Inc. and others.
It's likely that TPG is an investor in a number of the public and private companies in which Bonderman holds board seats. For example, TPG, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, is an investor in Uber, which is how Bonderman got to be a director there.
Nevertheless, Charles Elson, director of the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, said Bonderman's Uber resignation may put potentially negative attention on his other directorships. Elson contends that other boards should question whether Bonderman is overboarded and able to devote enough oversight attention.
"There are limits on how many boards one person can sit on. There are only so many hours in one day," Elson said. "The more boards you are on the less attention you can pay. Does he have the time to devote appropriate attention to those other boards?"
In addition, an influential investor advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., also may be close to issuing a red flag on Bonderman's directorships. The advisory firm updated its policy recently to say that after February 2017 it would recommend that investors vote against incumbent directors who sit on more than five public company boards.
The private equity firm will likely find someone else to replace Bonderman, whose resignation from Uber was announced on Tuesday and was effective as of Wednesday morning.
In a statement, Bonderman said that "Uber is examining the issues with its culture, and making significant changes and working to right what has been done wrong, which is extremely important for the future of the company. I do not want my comments to create distraction as Uber works to build a culture of which we can be proud. I need to hold myself to the same standards that we're asking Uber to adopt."
Besides Bonderman's departure, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced this week he is taking leave of absence to allow himself to deal with the death of his mother in a boating accident. And Kalanick's close cohort at Uber, Senior VP Emil Michael, has also left the transportation company on a permanent basis.
Bonderman co-founded founded Texas Pacific Group in 1992. The firm later was renamed TPG.
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