Uber CEO to take leave, leadership team to run company

Posted June 14, 2017

Travis Kalanick, Uber's co-founder and chief executive, will take an indefinite leave from the company following a months-long investigation into allegations of pervasive harassment inside the ride-hailing firm. She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture but no further punishment because he was a "high performer", she wrote. It calls for the appointment of an independent chairman, the use of performance reviews to hold senior employees accountable, a reformulation of Uber's values and various measures to increase diversity.

They're also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet, who claims that Uber stole some of the trade secrets behind their self-driving cars. The COO, yet to be hired, would be a partner with Kalanick.

In explaining his decision to take a leave of absence, Kalanick sent a memo to employees that addressed the consistent turmoil.

- February 2: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quits President Trump's council of business leaders amid mounting pressure from employees and customers over the immigration order.

Uber's board said it would review Kalanick's responsibilities and reassign some to others. Big companies do change CEOs from time to time, but Zero Hedge comments that Uber Technologies has also voluntarily or involuntarily also lost its Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Business Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Engineering in the last 60 days. Board member David Bonderman also resigned from the Board of Directors hours after making a sexist remark at a staff meeting.

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Holder recommends that Uber make sure its workforce becomes more diverse from the top down.

Holder also suggested recruiting at HBCUs and adopting the "Rooney Rule", which states that when conducting interviews, at least one woman and one minority must be included in any pool of potential hires. In the US, less than a third of the company's workers are female.

It said this should be based on "values that are more inclusive and contribute to a collaborative environment, including emphasizing teamwork and mutual respect, and incorporating diversity and inclusiveness as a key cultural value, not just as an end in itself, but as a fundamental aspect of doing good business". You can read the 13-page letter with all recommendations here.

Other recommendations ranged from improving accountability and training at the company to bolstering both Uber's human resources department and its employee complaint process.

Uber recently fired 20 employees following a separate investigation of workplace harassment by the law firm Perkins Coie.

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Under Mr Kalanick, the Uber app has revolutionised the taxi industry in hundreds of cities.

Uber's valuation has climbed to almost 70 billion U.S. dollars (£55 billion).

- March 19: Uber's president, Jeff Jones, resigns less than a year after joining the company. "During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company", Kalanick wrote. But Uber has an unusual corporate structure that gives Kalanick and two other insiders near-total control over the company.

Uber and Kalanick exemplified the notion of being "disruptive", which in Silicon Valley is seen as a positive force for change.

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