1966/1967 (age 50–51)|
Saigon, South Vietnam
|Education||MIT (BS, 1990), (MS, 1991)|
|Occupation||Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Uber (2013-present)|
Pham was born in Vietnam. In 1979, at about age 12, Pham, his mother, and younger brother immigrated as Vietnamese boat people on a crowded, unsanitary boat to Malaysia, where they were rejected as refugees after being twice-robbed by Thai pirates. They took another boat to Indonesia, where they spent 10 months in a refugee camp with similar unsanitary conditions. His life as a refugee included swimming to another town to buy candy for his mother to resell to the refugee colony for a 10 cent profit, which was "a luxury," with food aid from organizations like UNHCR, CARE, and Save the Children. Pham's family was granted political asylum in the United States because of his father and settled in Rockville, Maryland, where his mother lost her accountant certification due to language barriers and worked as a gas station ledger keeper during the day and supermarket grocery packer at night. He lived with six others in a roach-infested, two-bedroom apartment, worked at a car wash station on the weekends, and wore donated clothes and shoes including girl socks for two years. His father was a South Vietnamese Army soldier and teacher, who stayed in Saigon.
Pham worked at Hewlett Packard for three years, then Silicon Graphics. He was the fourth engineer at Internet ad serving startup NetGravity, and then joined DoubleClick after their acquisition of NetGravity in 1999. He then worked at VMware for eight years.
In 2013, he was personally hired as the Uber Chief Technology Officer (CTO) by the CEO, Travis Kalanick, who was impressed by his technical skills after interviewing him for 30 hours over two weeks. In 2016, Pham's internal email to employees commenting, "I will not even utter the name of this deplorable person because I do not accept him as my leader" on the election of U.S. President Trump, who is anti-illegal immigration, was widely circulated and published by the media.
In 2017, it was reported that Pham had knowledge of Susan Fowler's sexual harassment allegation at Uber and her manager's threatened retaliation, and did nothing. (These allegation were later shown to be false by an investigative reporting by TheInformation, and by a Buzzfeed publication of an email from Pham to this engineering team to clarify the matter.) In the same week, Pham stopped working alongside Uber's SVP of Engineering Amit Singhal, who was asked by the CEO, Kalanick, to resign after a month for failing to disclose a sexual harassment claim during Singhal's 15 years as VP of Google Search, after Recode reported about it in media.
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