Uber has appointed another independent director to its board. This time it is Revathi Advaithi, the CEO of Flex. Uber’s board had agreed to expand from 11 members in the director board to 17, which was a part of series of new decisions by the company in the past year. It was decided that 5 seats in the board will go to the insiders of the company or rather the co-founders, five to the investors including SoftBank who gets two seats. The Chairperson of Uber will be one of the independent directors.
Flex is a 51 year old company that is a major electronics manufacturer and a major competitor for Foxconn Technology of Taiwan. Revathi Advaithi took over the position of CEO in Flex last year when Micheal McNamara, their long time CEO resigned to join Eclipse. Flex’s market shares had dropped by $10 last year and Advaithi was appointed afterwards. She had joined the company at a tough time and has done a good job since joining.
Revathi Advaithi is a Mechanical Engineer who was bought up in India and had begun her career in the United States decades ago, as a floor supervisor in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Afterwards, She worked in Honeywell for 6 years as the VP and then 10 years as the COO in Eaton overseeing the global electrical business. She was appointed as the CEO of Flex afterwards.
Flex, had the Chinese company Huawei as their biggest customer, to whom they used to provide services for smartphones and 5G base stations. They lost the business to Huawei after the United States government banned the U.S based companies from doing any business with Huawei, after it was deemed with security risks.
Arianna Huffington was the first woman in Uber’s director board who left last year for her own company. After her, Wan Ling Martello, CEO of Nestle was hired in the board of directors in 2017 followed by Mandy Ginsberg (former CEO, Match Group). Advaithi is the third woman in the current board of directors.
There have been mixed opinions about Uber’s decision on increasing the number of persons on the director board. According to Patric McGurn, who is the special counsel and head of strategic research and analysis at Institutional Shareholder Services, “Big boards can have problems reaching consensus,” he says. “Large boards typically end up delegating critical issues to committees. This can reduce the effectiveness of the board as a whole as directors rubber-stamp the committees’ decisions.”