Uber CEO to take leave, leadership team to run company

Chaya Babu

What the Uber scandal says about us

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is taking a leave of absence for an indeterminate period of time.

Holder also said that the company needs to utilize the diversity team it has better.

The recommendations, which were unanimously adopted by Uber's board on Sunday, called for reducing Kalanick's authority at the company, which was previously nearly unchallenged, and introducing stricter controls over spending, human resources and the behaviour of managers.

The review, undertaken by United States lawyer Eric Holder, essentially takes as read that Uber has significant problems with its workplace culture and offers 10 detailed recommendations on how to fix it.

The Uber board has agreed to adopt all of Mr Holder's recommendations.

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As part of its response to claims of a workplace culture that fostered sexual harassment, Uber's board has voted to diminish Kalanick's responsibilities and assign some duties to other members of the senior management team, including a new chief operating officer who has yet to be hired.

Specifically, the recommendations call for adding independent members to the board of directors, including an independent chair. Chief Business Officer Emil Michael, one of Kalanick's key lieutenants, left the company on Monday, according to a source familiar with the situation, a departure that news reports have tied to the Holder investigation.

"For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team", Kalanick wrote in his email.

A culture change at Uber may be more hard than Holder envisions.

It appears that the Board required Travis Kalanick to take a leave of absence, but it is unclear when or if he will ever come back, and in what role.

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The ultimate responsibility, for where we've gotten and how we've gotten here rests on my shoulders. The company released the report moments after Kalanick's temporary leave was announced, detailing 47 separate suggestions to improve the company's culture-the first of which begins, "Review and Reallocate the Responsibilities of Travis Kalanick". His mother died in a boating accident last month.

The report stems from a blog post in February by Susan Fowler, who described experiencing sexual harassment and being stonewalled by Uber's human resources department while she was an engineer at the company.

After Ms Fowler's blog, Uber Technologies Inc made changes in human resources and opened a 24-hour hotline for employees.

The first six months of which have featured a misstep with taxi workers and NY locals during a strike, a swing and a miss with users over its decision to sit on a Donald Trump advisory board and the possibility of an uphill battle for status in Europe.

Kalanick, 40, did not say how long he would be away from Uber, the ride-hailing firm that he helped turn into the world's most valuable venture-backed company, but has run into problems due to its rough-and-tumble approach to regulations and its own employees.

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In is e-mail to Uber employees, he stated that the company needs a fresh beginning and if the fresh beginning has to be successful then Kalanick himself would need to reinvent himself.

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