Uber chief business officer to leave company amid turmoil

Andrew Cummings
June 13, 2017

Given how the company still didn't complete its search for a Chief Operating Officer that started in March, it's now unclear who would lead its management in case Kalanick ends up taking a leave of absence.

Uber Technologies Inc's board will discuss Chief Executive Travis Kalanick temporarily stepping away from the embattled ride-hailing firm and consider sweeping changes to the company's management practices at a meeting on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the situation. According to an unnamed Uber official cited by Reuters, the voting took place at a Sunday board meeting, the same one during which the possibility of Kalanick taking a leave of absence came up.

The changes will be announced to the ride-sharing company's employees on Tuesday when details of an inquiry carried out by former US Attorney General Eric Holder will be revealed.

Earlier this year, Uber's general counsel recommended that Emil Michael take a leave of absence until the results of the Holder report were delivered.

The event that sparked the investigation into the company occurred back in February when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler claimed that she was harassed by her boss on a number of occasions.

The debate over Kalanick's future comes as he is also facing a personal trauma: His mother died last month in a boating accident, in which his father was also badly injured.

More than 20 employees have been fired from the company in the wake of the Perkins Coie probe.

Also in the email he spoke of joining the company four years ago and helping make it "the fastest-growing company of all time". The company is locked in a legal battle with Waymo over self-driving vehicle tech and faces a high profile investigation into sexual harassment, along with numerous other smaller scandals and controversies. "The Board unanimously voted to adopt all the recommendations of the Holder Report".

If Mr Michael does leave it would be the latest high-profile departure from Uber.

Kalanick has been there defending the company he built, as the Times reported "in his own brash image", at every controversial turn - from evading law enforcement, to potentially violating consumers' privacy, to being slow to address sexual harassment and assaults of female passengers, to running sexist ads.

Under CEO Kalanick, Uber has shaken up the taxi industry in hundreds of cities and turned the San Francisco-based company into the world's most valuable startup.

Uber's self-driving vehicle program is in jeopardy after a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc alleging trade secrets theft, and the company has suffered an exodus of several of its top executives. Fasten, an Uber rival that operates in Boston and Austin, Texas, said it saw a 25 percent ridership increase the week after an Uber boycott started. The 40-year-old CEO said earlier this year that he needed to "fundamentally change and grow up".

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