UPDATE (6/21): Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned amidst investor pressure, according to The New York Times.
The Times on Wednesday reported that Kalanick, who helped found the app-based car service in 2009, resigned "after a shareholder revolt made it untenable for him to stay on at the company." He will remain on Uber's board.
Uber did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.
Citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation, the Times added that five of Uber's "major investors" — including the venture capital firm Benchmark — sent Kalanick a letter demanding he step down right away. After "hours of drama," including lengthy discussions with investors, he reportedly agreed.
"I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight," Kalanick said in a statement to the Times.
The board told the newspaper that Kalanick "always put Uber first" and his exit will allow the company "to fully embrace this new chapter."
Uber yesterday announced it is adding a tipping feature to its smartphone app, one of several changes the scandal-rocked ride-hailing company plans to roll out over the next few months to appease frustrated drivers.
Original Story (6/13):
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence following the results of an investigation into how the startup's upper management handles incidents of sexual harassment.
In an email to employees on Tuesday obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kalanick said he needed to take time off to "become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve."
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A complaint from Uber employee Susan Fowler in February alleging that her managers had ignored claims that she was sexually harassed at work threw the multibillion-dollar ride-hailing app company into disarray, with Kalanick apologizing for a lack of diversity in the company's workforce and for not properly responding to employee complaints.
Kalanick did not say how long he would be gone, but explained that he would leave the day-to-day running of the company to his subordinates while still taking part in strategic decisions. The leave will also allow him more time to grieve for his mother, he said, who recently died in a boating accident that also seriously injured his father.
Kalanick announced his leave on Tuesday shortly after Uber published the results of the investigation into sexual harassment and workplace culture, which was prompted by Fowler's complaints. The company's board adopted all of the changes that investigators—including former US Attorney General Eric Holder—recommended. Chief among them is reassigning some of Kalanick's responsibilities to other employees.
"The Board should evaluate the extent to which some of the responsibilities that Mr. Kalanick has historically possessed should be shared or given outright to other members of senior management," the report concluded.
Emil Michael, the company's SVP of Business, is also out, according to Recode. In 2014, Michael was forced to publicly apologize after suggesting that Uber should dig up and publicize dirt on journalists who are critical of the company.
Among other recommendations, the report also suggested that the company should explicitly prohibit intimate or romantic relationships between an employee and his or her supervisors, and significantly increase its efforts to hire a more diverse workforce.
Like many other tech companies, Uber's employees are overwhelmingly white and male. Just 15.4 percent are female, only 2.1 percent are Hispanic, and 1 percent are black, according to a diversity report published in March. Among the company's senior leadership, which is entirely white or Asian, 88.7 percent are male.
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