Uber CEO takes indefinite leave, top executives will run company
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday that he will take a leave of absence from the ride-sharing company he co-founded.
The move coincided with the release of former Attorney General Eric Holder’s report on allegations of harassment throughout Uber’s ranks. Uber released the list of recommendations provided by Holder’s law firm, saying the company’s board of directors will adopt all of the changes.
In an email to employees, Kalanick said he needs to take time off to grieve after the loss of his mother, who died in a boating accident late last month, and “to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.”
“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick wrote. “There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. 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 there’s no timetable for his return.
The leadership team will run Uber’s day-to-day operations while Kalanick is away. The 40-year-old executive said he remains available to make larger strategic decisions.
Uber has become embroiled in controversy on two fronts. The company recently disclosed that it fired more than 20 people due to an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and other issues. A separate internal investigation into Uber’s corporate culture, completed last week by Holder and the law firm Covington & Burling, recommended that a chief operating officer and other senior managers take over some of Kalanick’s responsibilities.
The Holder report also suggested that Uber tie executive compensation to diversity and ethics goals.
The investigations began after a former Uber employee wrote a blog post in February accusing managers of dismissing her complaints of sexual harassment.
Also, Uber remains in a court battle with Waymo, the self-driving car company launched by Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google. Waymo has accused Uber of using trade secrets to develop software for driverless cars. Uber fired the ex-Google engineer who allegedly stole files from his former employer, saying he failed to comply with an internal probe. Uber has denied using any Google technology.