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Travis Kalanick Officially Takes Leave From Uber as Results of Sexual Harassment Probe Are Delivered

By NexChange
Capital Markets

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday that he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the ride-sharing company he founded in 2009, while his responsibilities at the company are also likely to be reduced, as TechCrunch reports.

Kalanick’s announcement came on the same day that former attorney general Eric Holder delivered the results of an investigation into allegations of widespread sexual harassment at the San Francisco-based company. Kalanick’s leave from Uber had been expected, after the company’s board voted unanimously on Sunday to accept all of Holder’s recommendations.

Holder was joined in the investigation by Tammy Albarrán, his partner at law firm Covington & Burling. Their full 13-page report can be read here.

The recommendations of the investigation include making changes to Uber’s senior leadership (such as turning over some of Kalanick’s responsibilities to an as-yet-to-be-named COO; enhancing board oversight by increasing its independence; enhancing internal controls to better ensure compliance with policies; mandatory training for senior leadership through “a consultant who is respected in the field of inclusive leadership”; improvements to human resources and the complaint process; and enhancements to diversity and inclusion, including the establishment of an employee diversity advisory board.

Here is Kalanick’s memo to employees announcing his temporary leave:

Team,

For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber. Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.

The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. 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.

During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly.

It’s hard to put a timeline on this – it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes. The incredible outpouring of heartfelt notes and condolences from all of you have kept me strong but almost universally they have ended with ‘How can I help?’. My answer is simple. Do your life’s work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. Put people first, that is my mom’s legacy. And make Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work all of you do, and the inspiring people that make Uber great.

See you soon,

Although Kalanick vows to work on “Travis 2.0,” former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who’s blog post detailing the reckless corporate culture set off a firestorm, accused Uber on Twitter of “aggressive hostility.”

Perhaps Travis 2.0 will finally deliver that apology.

Photo: JD Lasica

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