Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber has reportedly stepped down as CEO of the ride-hailing service. Kalanik had founded the company in 2009 and helped in building it into a transportation giant. The New York Times reported that Kalanick’s resignation has come following a shareholder revolt within the company. Earlier there were reports that Kalanick was likely to take a leave of absence from the ride-hailing company, but no final decision was made. According to a Reuters report, Emil Michael, senior vice president and a close Kalanick ally, had left the company too. Kalanick’s move comes as Uber has been hit with a plethora of controversies recently. Earlier, Kalanick had reportedly taken a leave of absence recently. Kalanick, on June 13, had gone on an indefinite leave due to criticism of his management style and following the death of his mother in a boating accident.
The San Francisco-based company he co-founded in 2009 has been trying reverse damage done to its reputation by revelations of sexual harassment in its offices, allegations of trade secrets theft and an investigation into efforts to mislead government regulators. Meanwhile, the Uber board, in a statement to NYT said that Kalanick had ‘always put Uber first” and that his resignation would give the company ‘room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history.” Meanwhile, in a statement obtained by NYT, Kalanick said, “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.”
While building the world’s biggest ride-hailing service, Uber developed a reputation for ruthless tactics that have occasionally outraged government regulators, drivers, riders and its employees. The company’s hard-charging style has led to legal trouble. The US Justice Department is reportedly investigating Uber’s past usage of software designed to thwart regulators.
The ride-hailing service has faced various troubles in 2017. From various allegations of sexual harassment to a video surfacing with Kalanick engaging in a heated argument with a driver to a big lawsuit from Google’s Waymo self-driving car unit, the company has witnessed a lot of troubles. Uber had reportedly fired more than 20 employees when there was a probe into its work culture.
The NYT report cited two anonymous sources who were close to the discussions and said that Kalanick’s exit came after “hours of drama” between the company’s investors, out of which five people had demanded his immediate resignation.
In the letter, titled “Moving Uber Forward,” company investors had said that Uber needed a change in leadership. Kalanick discussed with at least one Uber board member and after hours of discussions with some of the investors, he agreed to step down, the report said. However, he will remain on Uber board.