Uber CEO takes leave; report recommends serious re evaluation

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said he was taking a leave of absence for personal reasons, an announcement that comes at a time when the company is dealing with a series of workplace scandals.Kalanick, in an email to his staff wrote on Tuesday: “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”.Among them, Holder said that Uber should “review and reallocate the responsibilities of Travis Kalanick” and search for a chief operating officer who would work closely with the new CEO to improve Uber’s corporate culture.Holder also recommended adding independent directors and replacing the board chairman, co-founder Garrett Camp, with an independent person.Kalanick said he would be working on a team that could lead “Uber 2.0″. Bonderman later apologized but according to board member Ariana Huffington the change would be a “seminal moment for Uber”. A management committee is expected to run the company in his absence.The pioneering company has been facing pressure to rein in a no-holds-barred management style led by Kalanick and to reform its workplace culture, which has sparked charges of harassment and discrimination. She reported him, but was told he would get a lecture and no further punishment because he was a “high performer”, she wrote. On Monday, the company announced that Emil Michael, vice president for business and a close Kalanick ally, was also leaving.Kalanick said he’s responsible for the company’s current situation and needs to become a better leader.”Also commend (Kalanick) for stepping aside and doing what is right for company and employees”.The company released only Holder’s recommendations, not his full report, citing the need to protect employees who complained. Last week, the company fired 20 people including some managers at the recommendation of Perkins Coie, which probed specific complaints made to the company about sex harassment, bullying, and retaliation for reporting problems. But Lyft Inc. has stolen some market share in the US, and Uber’s internal strife could open opportunities for competitors globally to lure partners, raise funds or poach talent. Uber has also admitted that it shortchanged drivers in NY by millions of dollars over the course of more than two years. Uber’s valuation has climbed to almost $70 billion.In addition, Uber must require that managers immediately report such conduct.Besides the sexual harassment complaints, in recent months Uber has been threatened by boycotts, sued and subject to a federal investigation over its use of a fake version of its app to thwart authorities looking into whether it is breaking local laws.