Travis Kalanick steps down as Uber CEO – CNET

Kalanick last week took a leave of absence.

James Martin/CNET

A week after saying he was taking a leave of absence, Travis Kalanick has stepped down from his position as Uber‘s chief executive officer.

The move came at the behest of five major Uber investors, reports The New York Times, who requested Kalanick’s immediate resignation. He will, however, stay on the company’s board of directors.

“I love Uber more than anything in the world,” Kalanick said in a statement to the Times, “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.”

Turmoil hit Uber back in February after former engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post about her “very, very strange year at Uber,” detailing a chaotic company culture rife with gender bias, sexual harassment and unprofessional business practices.

After Fowler published her blog post, Uber hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment at the San Francisco startup. He reportedly finished his investigation a few weeks ago and presented it to Uber’s board of directors to review, along with a set of recommendations. Uber’s board earlier this month unanimously voted to adopt all of Holder’s recommendations.

Among the report’s 10 main recommendations, a call for “changes to senior leadership.” This, in part, led to Kalanick last week taking a leave of absence from the company. 

“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick, 40, wrote in a memo to Uber employees last week. “For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.”  

Since February, Uber has suffered many personnel losses, including finance head Gautam Gupta, President Jeff Jones, senior vice of engineering Amit Singhal. Earlier this month, over 20 employees were fired after Holder’s sexual harassment investigation. 

Kalanick’s resignation makes the company’s future even less certain. Founded by Kalanick and Garrett Camp, a businessman who now serves as Uber chairman, the ride-hailer managed to upend the taxi industry and become the world’s most lucrative startup, valued at $68 billion. With its no-apologies attitude and notoriously aggressive Kalanick, Uber is also now one of the biggest ride-hailing services on the planet. While this approach helped the company grow, it’s unclear if it can be sustainable in the long run.   

Uber was contacted for comment but did not immediately respond. 

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