The fate of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, has been finally confirmed. The long-serving CEO will take a leave of absence from the company to deal with a personal tragedy and quote “work on myself.” In an email sent to Uber, the leave of absence is to start immediately. There are sources within Uber that confirm Kalanick will be stripped off some of his duties as soon as he returns. The board at Uber is expected to appoint an independent chair that will limit Kalanick’s influence in the ride-hailing company. Uber did not comment on the story and it is not yet clear when Kalanick will return.
Kalanick said in a letter sent to Uber that he had reached a point where he’d realized that people are more important than work. He went on to say that this was an opportune moment to take some time off from the company and grieve his mother who was buried last Friday. Kalanick also added that he felt this was the right time to reflect on himself and put some more focus on building what he called a “world-class team” to take Uber to the next level.
Uber has been dealing with a big crisis over the last few months. The ride-hailing company has been accused of a lax workplace culture with reported cases of sexual harassment. An investigation done on Uber’s workplace culture by an independent firm recommended in its report last week major changes on how the company is run especially the autonomy of the CEO and other leaders within Uber. There was also speculation about Kalanick’s future at the company and it is emerging that the CEO has been weighing whether to stay or step aside.
Even though it was clear that Kalanick had not really made up his mind, there was a feeling that he would leave, especially after Uber’s board adopted the recommendations of the independent investigation on its workplace culture last week. However, it is important to note that the report did not recommend the removal of Kalanick as the CEO. Instead, it recommended a review of Kalanick’s duties at the company and also to create more oversight on top management. Kalanick admitted his desire to take Uber to the next level as its leader but also felt that in order to provide the required vision in a new workplace culture, he too had to reflect and better himself.
The letter that was sent to the entire Uber team indicated that for the time he will be away, all his duties will be taken over by an interim management team. The CEO admitted that even though there were many great achievements the company had seen under his management, there were still a lot of areas that need to improve. Kalanick has worked at Uber for the last eight years. The ride-hailing company is one of the most valued startups in the world with a current market valuation of nearly $70 billion. However, Uber is yet to make a profit despite expanding rapidly all over the world.