Uber has finally taken concrete steps in changing its controversial culture. On Sunday, the company confirmed that its board of directors had adopted recommendations by an external investigation that sought to look into cases of sexual harassment in Uber’s workplace. However, despite this report, it’s not yet clear what exactly the board agreed to and how it will affect the company’s operations. In addition to this, the fate of Travis Kalanick is also not clear after the adoption of these new changes. Uber has not yet turned a profit since its inception despite being valued at nearly $70 billion.
Much of the failures have been blamed on significant autonomy for the CEO and analysts believe that more regulation and oversight is needed in order to make the company adapt to current market conditions. Just last week, Uber confirmed it had fired nearly 20 employees. The company said that it had received about 215 sex harassment complaints and it is expected that the recommendations adopted by the board will have clauses designed to address this. The report was presented by Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran. A source from Uber’s board confirmed that the recommendations will be released first to employees before they are made public.
Uber is hoping that the report will be available to all employees by Tuesday. The Holder’s report is simply a culmination of an investigation that took place in Uber’s headquarters for several months. The investigation came a few days after a former Uber engineer wrote a blog describing what she called a strange experience working at the company. The former engineer accused Uber of sexual harassment at the workplace as well as gender discrimination in most of its departments. Uber had also commissioned a second investigation on sexual harassment claims within the company that led to the firing of some 20 employees.
The Holder Report was significantly influenced by the 215 sexual harassment claims reported. There is an expectation that the report will recommend massive cultural changes in the company and also recommend personnel changes that could see a major restructuring of the human resource department in the company. The Holder report was deliberated on Holder’s law firm office in Covington and Burling for nearly seven hours. Before the board meeting, there was a report on the Wall Street Journal that indicated that Uber’s long-serving Chief Business Officer, Emil Michael, would resign on Monday. Michael has been largely linked to some of these scandals and the recommendations of the Holder report are expected to force the CBO out.
The future of CEO, Kalanick, is still undecided though. The CEO recently lost his mother and Reuters reported that the board was considering sending him on a three-month leave of absence. Whether these discussions were held or not is still a secret and it will be interesting to see what the Holder’s report will recommended in the coming few days. Uber has grown rapidly over the last few years and analysts argue that the workplace culture change up until now could have proved to be a major challenge. However, it seems things will now begin to be revised.