Uber CEO Travis Kalanick bows to investor pressure and resigns

The New York Times reports that Travis Kalanick received a letter from major shareholders demanding his resignation with immediate effect.

The investor revolt is said to be the last straw for Kalanick, who has come under intense scrutiny after a lengthy investigation led by a former US Attorney General, following allegations of how some female staff members at the ride-hailing company were subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination.

The company’s organisational culture and workplace practices also came under the spotlight.

In a statement released to the newspaper, Kalanick said: “I love Uber more than anything in the world 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.”

Kalanick, whose mother passed away after a boating accident last month, will remain on Uber’s board of directors.

Since co-founding the business with partner Bill Gurley in 2009, Kalanick has led the firm to realise a market value of around $68 billion (R886 billion).

The letter of demand issued by investors also called for better oversight of the company’s board when filling two of the three empty seats, with the shareholders requesting “truly independent directors”.

Uber is also facing a lawsuit for alleged theft of trade secrets and patent infringements relating to Google’s automated car programme Waymo in yet another blow to the company.

The potential fallout from the lawsuit could well become the catalyst to Uber’s undoing.

Google, through its parent company Alphabet, is alleging that former Google engineer, Anthony Levandowski, sold the self-driving trucking company Otto – that Levandowski started after leaving Google abruptly last year – to Uber for more than $500 million.

They allege that he stole 9,7GB of data from Google’s servers before he left the company.

The data contained vital information pertaining to technology Google was using for its self-driving car project. It is alleged that this information was subsequently passed on to Uber following the acquisition.

Additional reporting by The New York Times

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