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Uber CEO Taking 'Undetermined' Leave From the Company

Parmenio Sano | 18 Giugno, 2017, 03:30

Travis Kalanick, the longtime CEO of Uber announced Tuesday that he will be taking a leave of absence from his position in the wake of the culmination of the investigation into Uber's corporate culture that's been described as "toxic" over the past few months.

Holder and Tammy Albarran, a fellow partner at law firm Covington & Burling, conducted the investigation amid allegations of harassment, discrimination and mismanagement against the $68 billion startup.

The internal probe was based on a litany of allegations made by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, including that she was discriminated against based on her gender and that the company ignored her repeated complaints of sexual harassment at the hands of her supervisor, basing it on the fact that he was a "high performer".

Holder urged Uber to devote more resources and managerial support to the HR team, and to make it easier for employees to report misbehavior through a standardized complaint process. It even suggests such simple procedures as using performance reviews to hold leaders accountable and requiring all employees to turn in receipts so the company can make sure expenses match its values.

Uber on Tuesday publicly released the recommendations from Holder's report. "Review and reallocate the responsibilities of Travis Kalanick". Beyond Kalanick's temporary leave and the ongoing search for a COO, the company is also seeking a new president, a senior vice president, and a chief financial officer.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story referred to a recommendation that was not included in the publicly released version of the Eric Holder report. He said his "beliefs and approach to leadership" were "inconsistent" with those of the company. This follows recommendations made by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder for a shake-up of the company's workplace practices.


The report takes aim at the company's oft-criticized culture, including the 14 "core values" that Kalanick partly authored as Uber, founded in 2009, ramped up its growth plans. Those moves came last week, after an outside firm was hired to investigate more than 200 misconduct claims against the company, as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reported.

The review, undertaken by USA 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.

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.

Over the recent months, there has been a significant change in the top management of the company with many senior executives being fired or resigning and it seemed that it was only a matter of time before Kalanick would find himself in the wilderness, as it were.

When Huffington spoke of bringing another woman to the board, fellow board member David Bonderman commented that this would lead to "more talking".

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