Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Announces Leave of Absence

Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Travis Kalanick told employees yesterday he will take time away from the company he helped to found, citing the need to grieve for his recently deceased mother and to work on his leadership skills, according to an email from Kalanick seen by Reuters.

Law firm Perkins Coie got to work shortly after the blog post, focusing on 215 individual workplace claims in addition to the allegations Fowler outlined in her post.

Holder urged Uber to devote more resources and managerial support to the HR team, and to make it easier for employees to report misbehavior through a standardized complaint process.

Holder's firm also said Uber should hold senior managers more accountable and should improve diversity.

Board members voted unanimously to adopt all of the firm's recommendations, the spokesman said.

In an email to employees on Tuesday obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kalanick said he needed to take time off to "become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve". Specifically, it recommends having an empowered chief operating officer as a check and balance as well as to create oversight positions. But tl;dr, some key recommendations include "reallocating the responsibilities" of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and increasing the profile of Uber's head of diversity Bernard Coleman. In the US, less than a third of the company's workers are female.

The move confirmed what has been reported in the media since Sunday, that the 40-year-old co-founder of Uber, a startup now worth 68 billion US dollars according to some estimates, will leave as recommended by an outside team.

Uber's board met for seven hours Sunday.

Uber, which is the world's richest venture-backed startup valued at some $68 billion, operates in dozens of countries despite problems with regulators in many jurisdictions and protests from established taxi operators.

On Monday, a senior vice president at Uber, Emil Michael, stepped down ahead of Holder's recommendations.

The need for a new approach was highlighted by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who published a blog post in February in which she said that she was sexually harassed at the company and that both managers and the human resources unit ignored her complaints.

"There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve", Kalanick continued in the letter.

'It's hard to put a timeline on this, ' the 40-year-old wrote about his break from the business.

Besides the harassment complaints, in recent months Uber has been threatened by boycotts, sued and subject to a federal investigation over its use of a fake version of its app to thwart authorities looking into whether it is breaking local laws.

In March, a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver who asked him why the company's rates had dropped went viral. Holder did recommend that Kalanick's responsibilities be reviewed and reallocated.

  • Zachary Reyes