Business

Help wanted: Uber boss Travis seeks babysitter for him and his execs

Kalanick vows to bring in a grownup to knock sense into toxic, sexist upstart

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

20 SHARE

Following a string of damaging revelations about its atrocious corporate culture, Uber is seeking fresh help to clean up its act.

Uber boss Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday he will try to hire a chief operating officer to help him run the San Francisco-based toxic upstart. Good luck, Trav, given that putting Uber on your résumé is borderline career suicide. Anyway, this is what he told the world today:

This morning I told the Uber team that we’re actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey.

Speculation is that the Uber COO will take a role not unlike Sheryl Sandberg's at Facebook – providing guidance to a younger, less experienced management team on the ins and outs of running a large corporation without embarrassing shareholders too much.

Kalanick more or less said as much last week when he confessed that he would have to "grow up" in his role as CEO and admitted "I need leadership help and I intend to get it."

This breakdown was triggered not by a single incident, but rather by what can charitably be described as a nightmare stretch for Uber that has turned an already notorious corporate culture toxic, led to the resignations of executives, and turned many customers off the company completely.

Among the most damning reports was the account of former engineer Susan Fowler, who detailed rampant sexism and harassment among Uber's management ranks.

The talk of a toxic corporate culture only grew when, just days later, Kalanick was caught berating a driver who complained about the falling ride fares Uber was handing the contractors who power its ride-for-hire empire.

The bad news mounted when Google's Waymo subsidiary filed suit accusing Uber of orchestrating the defection of a key executive and stealing its self-driving car technology.

Those reports were followed up by revelations that Uber has for years been using its internal systems to evade police, and later by a fresh round of accusations that Uber has been illegally ignoring the safety of its passengers. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

20 Comments

More from The Register

Fetch calls Uber's bluff: See you in court, bros!

Battle over dodgy click claims heats up

Nope, you're still a transport biz, top EU court tells Uber

Updated France et al can ban illegal taxi services without having to give Brussels a prior legislative heads-up

Until now, if Canadian Uber drivers wanted to battle the tech giant, they had to do it in the Netherlands – for real

Yes, taxi app biz has managed the impossible – angering the good folks of Canada

Uber sued by Uber for tarnishing the good name of Uber

Can't we all just be Uber-alles?

European court: Let's not kid ourselves, Uber. You're a transport firm, not a 'digital service'

Trying year for 'taxi' company

High Court agrees to hear full legal challenge of Blighty's Snooper's Charter

Civil rights group given all-clear to launch judicial review at bulk surveillance regime

Denied: Uber's request to skip to UK Supreme Court to appeal workers' rights

Claimant: We've beaten Uber twice, prepared to do it again

Cambridge Analytica's administrators misled judge, High Court told

Eyebrow-raising claim will be heard in full early next year

France next up behind Britain, Netherlands to pummel Uber with €400k fine over 2016 breach

Dara and pals told to hand over yet another cash wodge for hack it spent $100k covering up

Sidecar drags itself out the grave, sues Uber for putting it there

Cab hailing app accuses rival of predatory prices and fake bookings