Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence After Workplace Scandals

Travis Kalanick’s role will be diminished upon his return.

June 13, 2017 3:22 pm

Uber’s management team will endure more upheaval after being rocked by multiple scandals over the course of several months—Bloomberg is reporting that Travis Kalanick, the company’s CEO, is the latest to take a step back.

“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here, rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick reportedly wrote in an email to employees. “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.”

The allegations waged against the 14,000+ company range from institutionalized sexual harassment to the revelation that it secretly used software that allowed drivers to avoid government officials. Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general hired by the ride-sharing company to look into allegations of harassment, discrimination, and an aggressive culture, delivered a report to Uber that included 47 recommendations for change, Bloomberg reports. Some of these fixes include rewriting the company’s cultural values, limiting the use of alcohol at work, and clearly defining what types of romantic relationships are prohibited at Uber.

Kalanick, who is tied to many of the major scandals, is also taking leave amid the sudden and unexpected death of his mother, who died in a tragic boating accident in late May.

“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,” he wrote to employees. “It’s hard to put a timeline on this — it may be shorter or longer than we might expect.”

Although his return date is not yet set, Kalanick’s role will reportedly be diminished when he returns. In addition to stripping him of duties that are not specified as of publication, Uber will reportedly also appoint an independent chair to limit Kalanick’s influence in the company.

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