Uber has been in some hot water recently, as their toxic company culture has been under the microscope after Susan J. Fowler, an engineer, wrote a scathing account of the sexual harassment she'd experienced at the company. Now, CEO Travis Kalanick is taking personal leave from the company for an unspecified amount of time. Kalanick himself suggested the leave, after his mother was killed in a boating accident last month. But this leave has larger implications for the embattled CEO. Earlier this year, Kalanick was caught on video colorfully arguing with an Uber driver about low pay.
Former Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick is a controversial figure, even among drivers for the ride-hailing company. Though the San Francisco firm has put money in the wallets of the drivers who offer rides on its platform, many drivers opposed Kalanick's decisions and Uber's leadership under his watch. Some drivers have fought in court to be treated as employees rather than independent contractors, a classification that they say deprives them of benefits to which they are legally entitled. Some have complained of being shortchanged by the technology start-up with the world's highest private market valuation. Some have protested the company's refusal to allow tipping on its app (Uber relented on this front on Tuesday, offering passengers for the first time the ability to tip.) Issues like these did not make Kalanick a popular figure among drivers -- especially after a video emerged in which the Uber co-founder berated a driver who blamed Kalanick and the company for his financial woes.
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been sued by a major investor claiming he fraudulently concealed serious issues with the company, and sought power over the ride-for-hire firm "for his own selfish ends". According to a complaint filed by Benchmark Capital Partners in a Delaware court, Mr Kalanick - who stepped down as CEO of the company earlier this year - "fraudulently obtained control" of seats on Uber's board of directors by covering up "gross mismanagement and other misconduct." The examples listed offer a neat summation of the scandals and legal fights that have beset the Silicon Valley giant and links Mr Kalanick to all of them, arguing that he was aware of encroaching trouble but did not disclose that to investors. They include: a now-fired executive who sought to obtain the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India; a controversial program known was "Greyball," first revealed by the New York Times, that was used to elude municipal officials in cities where Uber operated; a "pervasive culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment" that has illuminated overarching issues with sexism in the tech industry and helped precipitate Mr Kalanick's departure; and an ongoing lawsuit in which Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google, claims Uber stole trade secrets. By seeking to create three new board seats despite those corporate conflagrations, the lawsuit alleges that Mr Kalanick retained his leverage over the board of directors and guaranteed himself "an outsized role in Uber's strategic direction even if forced to resign as CEO".
Uber has had their fair share of press, both good and bad. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber's king may be deposed, but his power endures. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick certainly has his share of detractors, but fans will take comfort in knowing he was integral to landing the company's new chief executive. In audio leaked to Yahoo News of an all-hands meeting Wednesday that introduced outgoing Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to the ride-hailing company's team, Kalanick is heard offering a quiet introduction to his 48-year-old successor. But Kalanick's critical role in the selection becomes clear when Khosrowshahi, who initially was not interested in the Uber post, describes how his mind ultimately was changed by the power of Kalanick's pitch.
The mother of Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, has died in a boating accident. Bonnie Kalanick, 71, died after the boat she and her husband, Donald, 78, were riding hit a rock in Pine Flat Lake in Fresno county, California, authorities said. The couple from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Northridge have been longtime boaters. In a memo to Uber staff, Liane Hornsey, the chief human resources officer, called the incident an "unthinkable tragedy". She wrote that "everyone in the Uber family knows how incredibly close Travis is to his parents".