Change is in the air at Uber.
On Monday, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote an "un-Uber-like" open letter asking Londoners to forgive mistakes it made in an effort to win back the right to operate in the city.
That same day, Arianna Huffington spoke at the Fortune and Time CEO Initiative conference in New York City about a number of other ways in which the company has evolved.
"If you were a top performer delivering growth, a lot was forgiven you," the Thrive Global founder and Uber board member said, describing what Uber's business culture was like before a blog post by a former employee Susan Fowlersparked one of the most significant changes within a company in recent history, including the resignation of its CEO Travis Kalanick.
Fowler's blog post published in February 2017 reflected "on one very, very strange year at Uber"—an experience that included accusations of sexual harassment and accounts of mismanagement and other bad behavior. It prompted Kalanick to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the claims.
Huffington, the only woman on the board at the time, got involved from the beginning and chaired the subcommittee that oversaw the Holder investigation. During a “raw and emotional” all-hands staff meeting just two days after Fowler's post, Huffington said she made a number of pronouncements to reassure Uber's then-14,000 employees that change would be coming.
"I named top performers who misbehaved 'brilliant jerks,'" Huffington told Nancy Gibbs, editorial director of Time Inc. News Group, while on stage. "And I announced at that all-hands that Uber would become a place of zero tolerance for brilliant jerks."
The actions that followed that all-hands, including the dismissal of 26 employees after the results of Holder's investigation were announced, sent a very clear message "that we meant business" and were serious about making fundamental changes.