Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to hire COO after series of embarrassing setbacks

"This morning I told the Uber team that we're actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey", Kalanick wrote in company blog post. Among the candidates Kalanick would like to recruit: Former Walt Disney chief operating officer Tom Staggs and CVS executive Helena Foulkes, Recode reported.

It looks like hiring a No. 2 at the company is Kalanick's first step in getting the "leadership help" he referenced.

A widely covered February 19 blog post by Susan Fowler, a former engineer with the company, described a persistent atmosphere of sexual harassment and maltreatment of female employees at the company, and said Uber's human resources department failed to act on her complaints.

Kalanick, known for being brash and aggressive in propelling Uber's rise, also poses potential to be a liability as the company deals with more complex corporate issues, say some analysts.

In the latest in a streak of damaging news for the ride-sharing giant, Uber came forward about its "Greyball" software after a New York Times report which said the program aimed to deceive authorities in markets around the world.

Kalanick has apologized for the video, and the company has launched an investigation into Fowler's claims.

"This program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service - whether that's people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret "stings" meant to entrap drivers", Uber said. Sources told the publication that Uber's board would prefer a woman executive for the post. "And when a company grows so fast, across the globe, it's essential to establish the kind of structures that prevent what happened from happening again". For Facebook, that figure was Sheryl Sandberg, the poised and polished counterpart to Mark Zuckerberg's jeans and hoodies leadership style.

  • Zachary Reyes