Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence from his post as CEO of Uber following his mother’s recent death, according to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac.
Kalanick didn’t say when he planned to return, according to Bloomberg.
The news, reportedly shared in a companywide email, follows reports that Uber’s board of directors discussed a leadership shakeup at a June 11 meeting ― including a leave of absence for Kalanick ― amid a period of intense turbulence for the ride-hailing company and a time of personal tragedy for the embattled executive.
Kalanick founded Uber in 2009 as a scrappy startup that eventually grew into a taxi-killing behemoth valued at nearly $70 billion. But Kalanick, 40, has also faced torrents of criticism over Uber’s toxic workplace environment and his personal behavior.
In February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a tell-all blog post about the company’s sexist culture that went viral. Fowler described being solicited for sex by a male manager, discriminated against by management and stonewalled by human resources for reporting the conduct of male employees there.
In response to the allegations, Kalanick tapped former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an investigation into Uber’s practices with help from board member and former HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. Uber also hired a separate law firm, Perkins Coie, to specifically investigate sexual harassment and other workplace complaints by Fowler and other individuals.
After Fowler’s allegations became public, two of Uber’s earliest investors, Mitch and Freada Kapor, spoke out and urged the company to switch gears.
“Uber’s outsize success in terms of growth of market share, revenues and valuation are impressive, but can never excuse a culture plagued by disrespect, exclusionary cliques, lack of diversity, and tolerance for bullying and harassment of every form,” the two wrote in February.
“Uber has had countless opportunities to do the right thing ,” they added. “We feel we have hit a dead end.”.. see more