Uber employees ‘began drinking before dawn on day of IPO’

Uber employees ‘began drinking before dawn on day of IPO’

May 18, 2019

Uber employees ‘began drinking before dawn on day of IPO, one office party was shut down when it got out of hand and at another a secretary blew up at co-workers and later resigned’

  • Uber went public on the New York Stock Exchange on May 10 
  • Employees on the West Coast were invited to parties starting at 5.30am PT
  • Booze flowed freely and one office party in California was reportedly shut down
  • At another party, an executive assistant resigned after a verbal outburst 
  • Uber’s stock remains below the IPO price in a debut seen as disappointing 
  • Company struggled with image of ‘bro culture’ prior to founder’s ouster in 2017 

Uber’s employees began drinking at office parties at the crack of dawn on the day of the company’s initial public offering, with one party getting shut down for getting out of hand and an outburst at another leading to an employee’s resignation, according to a new report.

When Uber debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on May 10, employees on the West Coast were invited to company parties starting at 5.30am PT, prior to the opening bell, the Washington Post reported.

Mimosas and other booze flowed freely at the satellite parties, where workers watched with glee on television as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi presided over the opening bell.

Uber employees are seen celebrating at the company’s headquarters on the day of the company’s IPO. At other company offices, festivities reportedly got out of hand

Uber employees celebrate with drinks at the company’s headquarters during the IPO. While most were well behaved, there were reports that some of the festivities got out of hand

Uber employees celebrate the IPO at the San Francisco headquarters. The party began at 5.30am with mimosas and booze flowed freely for much of the day

As employees, many of whom own shares in the company that they can now cash out, got wild in their celebrations, a party at one California satellite office was shut down, an Uber insider told the Post.

‘We limited the amount of alcohol during internal events last Friday and informed employees around the world that we expected them to celebrate that milestone responsibly,’ Uber said in a statement to the Post. ‘We took action to address any who did not.’ 

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Friday. 

At another office party, an executive assistant got into a verbal outburst and dispute with colleagues during the celebrations that led to her tendering her resignation, current and former employees said.

At the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, the celebrations continued throughout the day, with employees drinking in the office before heading to bars, and then returning for ‘happy hour’ at 2pm with company-provided booze.

Employees are seen at Uber’s headquarters shortly after 6am PT on May 10, eagerly awaiting the opening bell in New York City which for them came at 6.30am

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, third from left, attends the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, as his company makes its initial public offering on May 10

Amid champagne gyesers, some employees tapped into a secret stash of old liquor bottles left over from the tenure of ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who resigned in 2017.

The bottles of tequila and whiskey that had been stashed around the office had an old version of the Uber logo, according to the Post.

The party dragged on into the night at San Francisco bars – but as some employees watched Uber’s stock plunge well below its $45 offering price, they secretly wondered if carousing in public seemed appropriate.

‘What are we celebrating? The loss of billions of dollars in value?’ one person told the Post anonymously. 

Uber struggled with its corporate image in the run up to Kalanick’s departure, with some painting a picture of a ‘bro culture’ inside the company.

In part, investors asked Kalanick to step down over allegations that he had overlooked instances of sexual misconduct within the company.

 wall of black and white balloons is seen at Uber’s San Francisco office for the IPO

Amid the controversy, former Attorney General Eric Holder was hired to investigate the company’s culture and make recommendations.  

In the report, Holder wrote that Uber should ‘encourage responsible drinking, which can include limiting the amount of alcohol that is available in the office, de-emphasizing alcohol as a component of work events, and otherwise taking appropriate action to discipline and address inappropriate employee conduct fueled by alcohol consumption.’

‘Uber should support work events in which alcohol is not a strong component to ensure that employees who do not partake in consumption of alcohol still have opportunities to engage in networking and team building activities,’ the report added.     

After Uber’s stock price plunged 7.6 per cent on the first day of trading, wiping more than $6billion from the company’s valuation, the IPO was widely viewed as disappointing.

The stock has swung in the week since, briefly rising above the offering price, but ended Friday at $41.91, or 6.9 per cent down from the offering price.

Uber’s executives have said that the company is focused on the long term, and have urged employees and investors not to read to much into the first few days of trading. 

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