BUSINESS

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick To Take Indefinite Leave

Meanwhile Uber's board will adopt recommendations to reform culture from within

BUSINESS
AFP/Getty Images
Jun 13, 2017 at 2:09 PM ET

After months of turmoil surrounding his company, Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick is taking a leave of absence. Kalanick did not disclose a return date, but said he’s leaving to grieve his mother, work on himself, and build a better company.

“For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber,” Kalanick said in an email to employees. “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.”

Upon his announcement, former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm Covington and Burling released their recommendations to Uber, after conducting an independent investigation. The report consists of 13 recommendations that could help the company improve its “culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.” Uber said its board has met to discuss Holder’s report and unanimously voted to adopt all of the recommendations.

The recommendations include suggestions to review Kalanick’s responsibilities and also to appoint an independent chairman and create an overseeing committee on the board in order to establish a checks and balances system that holds management accountable for its mistakes. Some of its recommendations read like a primer on how Silicon Valley companies should be run.

Kalanick’s departure follows an array of bad press including reports of sexual harassment and discrimination, defying local regulations, and using shady technology to hide from law enforcement in cities where the ride-share is illegal. Uber since has fired at least 20 employees for transgressions including sexual harassment. The most notable employee exit on Monday was Emil Michael, Kalanick’s right-hand man, but it was unclear if he quit or was fired.