Uber chief to take leave from company

Uber chief Travis KalanickImage copyright
ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty

Uber boss Travis Kalanick plans to take time away from the company.

He revealed the decision in an email to employees on Tuesday.

The leave comes after an internal review of the firm’s culture and practices, which was sparked by a former employee’s claims the company ignored her complaints about sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

At a meeting on Sunday, Uber’s board voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations from the review.

The email did not say how long Mr. Kalanick would be on leave.

Uber has been rocked by a series of controversies in recent months, including an investigation of its business practices and lawsuit from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, over alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars.

Criticism of its aggressive corporate culture has also circulated, inflamed earlier this year when Mr Kalanick was caught on video berating an Uber driver.

He said in response to the video: “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”

In the email to staff, Mr Kalanick said his decision to take leave, which also comes after the sudden death of his mother in a boating accident, is part of an effort to create “Uber 2.0”.

“For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team,” Mr Kalanick wrote. “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.”

The leave from Mr Kalanick comes after the departure of other high-ranked executives.

Uber last week also said it had fired more than 20 staff and taken actions against others following a separate review of more than 200 human resources complaints that included harassment and bullying.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder also conducted a broader review of the firm’s practices. Recommendations from that report were released to employees and the media on Tuesday.

“Implementing these recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Liane Hornsey, the firm’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “While change does not happen overnight, we’re committed to rebuilding trust with our employees, riders and drivers.”

Uber: Travis Kalanick’s rollercoaster reign

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