Uber CEO Kalanick to take leave of absence

As part of a note announcing policies to improve its corporate culture, Kalanick said on Tuesday he would step aside for an unspecified period of time to focus on personal matters and reflect on how to build a world-class leadership team, Efe news reported. He did not specify how long he would be away, and he did not appear at a staff meeting held to highlight plans to improve workplace practices.

Following Fowler's post, Uber hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate her charges. According to the latest email sent by Kalanick, it's high time for him to revisit company's strategy and management, besides reinventing himself to guarantee the success of Uber 2.0. In front of employees, the board member Arianna Huffington talked about how having one female director typically leads to more female directors.

Kalanick said he would be working on a team that could lead "Uber 2.0". Uber's board unanimously accepted those suggestions.

Whether Kalanick's leave of absence at this crucial time will cause even more upheaval within the company remains to be seen.

Last week, Uber fired 20 employees following an investigation into 215 complaints about workplace issues including sexual harassment. She alleged that her former manager had propositioned her for sex and that Uber's human-resources department told her it wouldn't punish him because he was a top performer.

A statement released by early Uber investors Mitch and Freada Kapor said they were encouraged by the "thoughtful and extensive" recommendations. She also questioned the gender diversity at the company. "But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve", Kalanick said. During Kalanick's leave, his leadership team will run the troubled company.

The company released only Holder's recommendations, not his full report, citing the need to protect employees who complained. As of late a year ago, Uber's private-market valuation had climbed to almost $70 billion. In January, Kalanick dropped out of President Trumps economic advisory group before its first meeting after protests outside the company's headquarters, employee dissent, and a #DeleteUber backlash that inspired about 200,000 users to delete their accounts.

Besides the sexual 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. Uber has also admitted that it shortchanged drivers in NY by millions of dollars over the course of more than two years. "Expect he and company will be stronger & better", Wadhwa tweeted.

  • Zachary Reyes