Life Tech Uber boss Travis Kalanick quits after months of scandal

Uber boss Travis Kalanick quits after months of scandal

Travis Kalanick
Travis Kalanick's resignation comes after he announced a leave of absence. Photo: Getty
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Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick has resigned from the troubled ride-booking service under pressure from investors.

“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,” Mr Kalanick said in a statement.

On June 13, Kalanick went on indefinite leave amid criticism of his management style and following the death of his mother in a boating accident.

The resignation came after a series of costly missteps by Mr Kalanick and the fast-growing company that he helped found eight years ago.

Uber on Monday embarked on a 180-day program to change its image by allowing riders to give drivers tips through the Uber app, something the company had resisted under Mr Kalanick.

The San Francisco-based company is trying to reverse damage done to its reputation by revelations of sexual harassment in its offices, allegations of trade secrets theft and an investigation into efforts to mislead government regulators.

The Uber board said in a statement Mr Kalanick had “always put Uber first” and that his resignation would give the company “room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history”.

Board member Bill Gurley — who is also a partner at venture capital firm Benchmark, one of the key investors named by the New York Times as having demanded Mr Kalanick’s resignation — appeared to praise the embattled executive’s achievements in a Twitter post, saying he had made a “lasting impact” on the world.

Mr Kalanick will remain on the Uber Technologies Inc board.

Resignation comes after months of scandal

While building the world’s biggest ride-booking service, Uber developed a reputation for ruthless tactics that have occasionally outraged government regulators, drivers, riders and its employees.

The company has been in turmoil as allegations of sexual harassment and questions over Mr Kalanick’s treatment of his staff emerged in recent months.

Before going on leave, in early June, Mr Kalanick acknowledged he needed “to become a better leader”.

Uber has been plagued by reports of a “toxic” culture and sexual harassment.

“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” he said.

A damning report into Uber’s “toxic” workplace culture found the company condoned sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation against those who reported problems.

Report author Eric Holder had recommended Mr Kalanick be released from some leadership responsibilities.

In February, former employee Susan Fowler posted a blog detailing harassment she experienced during the year she spent at Uber, writing that she was propositioned by her manager on her first day with an engineering team.

She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture but no further punishment because he was a “high performer,” she wrote.

The company’s hard-charging style has led to legal trouble. The US Justice Department is investigating Uber’s past usage of phony software designed to thwart regulators.

Uber also is fighting allegations that it’s relying on a key piece of technology stolen from Google spin-off Waymo to build self-driving cars.