Uber boss Kalanick steps down for a while

Kalanick did not say how long he would be gone, but explained that he would leave the day-to-day running of the company to his subordinates while still taking part in strategic decisions.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence following the results of an investigation into how the startup's upper management handles incidents of sexual harassment.

His missive to staff came just as Uber announced partial results of a almost four-month investigation into its workplace culture by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's law firm. Uber's board unanimously accepted former Attorney General Eric Holder's recommendations for improving the company.

Uber board member David Bonderman, who spurred outrage after making a sexist remark at a staff meeting held subsequent to an investigation of sexual harassment at the ride-sharing company, has resigned on Tuesday.

And Uber's performance review process must change, too, in order to prevent it from being used unfairly and to restore employee trust in the system.

The board first announced it had adopted the proposals in Holder's report on Sunday; hours afterward, the company saw another high-profile departure, as senior vice president for business Emil Michael announced his resignation. The company is also embroiled in a lawsuit with Alphabet's Waymo for allegedly stealing self-driving technology secrets.

However, Kalanick cited the need to grieve for the loss of his mother, who died in a boating accident in May, for his decision to take a leave. It calls for some of Kalanick's duties to be reallocated and emphasises the importance of the company's plan to hire a chief operating officer.

The board also recommended adding independent directors and replacing its chairman, co-founder Garrett Camp, with an independent chairman.

Uber has been under a seemingly never-ending siege of bad press for quite some time now, including revelations that an Uber executive allegedly retrieved and shared the medical records of a passenger who accused her Uber driver of rape. He and his allies from Uber's early days are said to dominate the board's voting power.

The law firm has made recommendations on how to fix Uber's dysfunctional management.

The changes mark a pivotal moment for a company under pressure to change its culture and leadership, which have been largely defined by Kalanick's brash approach. Apparently because of distrust of some leaders, Holder recommended that care be taken to make sure the executive "is viewed positively by the employees". Last week, the company fired 20 people including some managers at the recommendation of Perkins Coie, which probed specific complaints made to the company about sex harassment, bullying, and retaliation for reporting problems.

In addition, Uber must require that managers immediately report such conduct. In the eight years of its existence, Uber has been facing severe criticism about his work culture in various countries. The ride-hailing company more than doubled gross bookings to $20 billion a year ago, compared to 2015.

  • Leroy Wright