Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned, says report

Investors insisted, board concurred, curtain fell, but bro-in-chief will remain on the board

Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may not be smiling now

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned, according to The New York Times.

The Grey Lady reports that Uber's biggest shareholders sent Kalanick a letter titled “Moving Uber Forward” in which they demanded change in leadership, not just the leave of absence the now-former CEO announced last week.

Kalanick consulted with Uber board members and then resigned.

He sent the Times a statement in which he 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.”

Kalanick led Uber into fights on many fronts. The company had a strategy of entering markets without regard to regulation, earning it lawsuits all over the world. During one such lawsuit, Uber breached privacy laws. The company also stands accused of stealing self-driving car technology and deliberately targeting government officials who sought to investigate it.

The former CEO also managed to get into a fight with an Uber driver, but that incident and others didn't slow the company down.

Things got really bad when former Uber developer Susan Fowler detailed what she called a Very, Very Strange Year At Uber during which she experienced sexual harassment, reported it to HR, but was ignored, lied to, passed over for advancement and watched as women fled the organisation after reporting similar treatment.

Uber took Fowler's account of life inside the company seriously, hiring outsides to conduct a review of its operations and agreeing to implement all recommendations . Kalanick himself accepted he needed to change his style and took up meditation, but even managed to stuff that up by doing it in Uber's room supposedly devoted to breast-feeding mothers.

On top of those sins, Uber has burned cash at an amazing rate: US$2.8bn on revenue of $6.5bn in FY 16/17.

Kalanick's successor will therefore have the job of sorting out the company's finances, de-toxing its culture and making sure the CEO's excesses don't result in an even more extensive consumer backlash than is already occurring. ®


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