Uber’s CEO takes indefinite leave of absence

CEO Travis Kalanick has announced an indefinite leave of absence due to Uber's workplace culture

Tags: Uber (www.uber.com/)
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Uber’s CEO takes indefinite leave of absence Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (Getty Images )
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  June 14, 2017

Uber has been taking a hammering over the last few months and now its CEO Travis Kalanick has announced an indefinite leave of absence.

A report examining Uber's workplace culture has called action to ‘review and reallocate' Kalanick's role in the company.   

Uber's board of directors have unanimously voted to review the workplace which will be led by the law firm of the former US attorney general Eric Holder.

Uber's reputation has been damning, as most recently a former employee Susan Fowler revealed her experience of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in a blogpost. Furthermore and not helping the situation, venture capitalist David Bonderman resigned from Uber's board of directors yesterday evening after making a sexist comment at the staff meeting where the company's report findings were being shared.

The report itself highlighted that Uber must change the dynamics of the workplace by training human resource personnel on "the effective handling of complaints", training senior management and executives in leadership, a policy banning romantic relationships between employees and their managers and also progress its diversity efforts.

On 13 June, Kalanick sent an email to his staff, explaining his decision. He said: "I need to take 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-class leadership team.

"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."

The running of the company during Kalanick's absence will be led and shared by members of senior management, but Uber will also look to hire a chief operating officer.

Below is the email Kalanick sent to all Uber employees:

"Team,

For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber. Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take 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-class leadership team.

The ultimate 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 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.

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 move the company forward swiftly.

It's hard to put 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 all of you have kept me strong but almost universally they have ended with ‘How can I help?'. My answer is simple. Do your life's work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. Put people first, that is my mom's legacy. And make Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work all of you do, and the inspiring people that make Uber great.

See you soon."

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