Uber is known for its desire to hire business school graduates for management roles. But now the car-hailing app company is tapping into business school faculty.
Uber has snapped up Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei as its SVP of leadership and strategy, reporting to the CEO Travis Kalanick.
Frances is a senior associate dean for executive education at the world’s best-known business school and is one of the world’s most respected authorities on organizational transformation.
She will now join the Silicon Valley-based company in a full-time capacity as a partner to the chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey, advising on areas including: company strategy and planning; organizational transformation and design; management and leadership; coaching; and helping to architect Uber’s cultural philosophy.
Uber has come under fire after former engineer Susan Fowler claimed its HR team ignored her complaints of sexual harassment, and characterized Uber as chaotic and macho. Uber has promised to publish an internal investigation into its workplace culture.
Frances has worked to improve gender equality at HBS through changing its curriculum and culture. She is also the author of the best-selling book, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. Her research examines how leaders create the context for organizations and individuals to thrive. She also serves as a personal advisor to senior executives who are embarking on cultural change and organizational transformations.
“Frances has spent many hours together over the last few months with our leadership team and many of our employees, so she understands our company: who we are and where we are going,” Uber said. “As one of the world’s most respected authorities on organizational transformation, she is uniquely qualified for this role — and we know we all have a lot to learn from her. Her expertise will be invaluable to the company as we take on the next chapter.”