Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will buy a leave of absence from the ride-hailing company he founded as it grapples with a host of scandals.
“The final responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick wrote in a company-wide email obtained by BuzzFeed News. “For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more considerable than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But whether 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 did not offer a date for his return.
Uber’s board met on Sunday in Los Angeles and voted to accept utter the recommendations made by the former attorney general Eric Holder and lawyer Tammy Albarrán, who conducted an internal investigation into Uber’s culture following allegations of systemic sexism and sexual harassment at the company. The recommendations included that Kalanick give up some of his CEO duties, and that the company hire a chief operating officer to serve as a “full partner” of the CEO.
Kalanick’s rupture from the company comes after months of turmoil, as well as a personal tragedy: his mother died in a boating accident final month, and his father was left in a serious condition.
Members of the board had previously professed faith in Kalanick in spite of the growing controversies. His sabbatical will contribute to a leadership void at Uber, as more than a dozen executives believe left the company this year alone. Uber has been searching for months for a COO to serve as number two to Kalanick.
Uber has faced crisis after crisis this year. In January, Kalanick dropped out of President Trump’s economic advisory group before its first assembly after protests external the company’s headquarters, employee dissent, and a #DeleteUber backlash that inspired approximately 200,000 users to delete their accounts. On Feb. 19, a female ex-engineer at the company posted a viral blog detailing systemic sexism at Uber, prompting an internal investigation into its workplace culture. Kalanick apologized and promised Uber would “enact better.” Later that month, a video surfaced of Kalanick yelling at an Uber driver during an argument approximately fares. Kalanick, 40, pledged to “grow up” and glean “leadership aid.” Employees at the company believe told BuzzFeed News the incidents believe shaken their faith in Kalanick as a leader.
Uber is embroiled in a bitter trade secrets lawsuit filed by Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit Waymo, which alleges that a former employee — who later joined Uber — stole information that the ride-hailing giant is using to its benefit. Uber has also admitted that it shortchanged drivers in unusual York by millions of dollars over the course of more than two years. The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the company’s efforts to evade regulators. And Recode reported that Kalanick advised employees on sex rules for a company party in Miami in 2013.
Kalanick became CEO of Uber in December 2010, replacing Ryan Graves, who sits on the company’s board and serves as its senior vice president of global operations.
Here’s Kalanick’s full email to employees:
For the final eight years my life has always been approximately Uber. Recent events believe brought domestic for me that people are more considerable than work, and that I need to buy some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-lesson, course leadership team.
The final responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. 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 considerable than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But whether 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.
During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to trek the company forward swiftly.
It’s tough to establish a timeline on this – it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes. The incredible outpouring of heartfelt notes and condolences from utter of you believe kept me strong but nearly universally they believe ended with ‘How can I aid?‘. My reply is simple. enact your life’s work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. establish people first, that is my mom’s legacy. And perform Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work utter of you enact, and the inspiring people that perform Uber worthy.
See you soon,
Priya Anand is a tech and transportation reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Priya Anand at [email protected].
Ryan Mac is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology and power.
Contact Ryan Mac at [email protected].
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.