Travis Kalanick to take time out following bereavement and release of a damning report.
Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick has announced that he is to take an indefinite leave of absence, to grieve for his recently deceased mother and, to take time away from the company following the release of a damning report regarding workplace culture.
“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”, wrote Kalanick in an email to Uber’s employees.
The temporary departure comes while the company is facing yet another sexism scandal after a board member’s sexist remark on women came to light. While the following comments by Uber board member David Bonderman are meek in comparison to some of the scandals Uber has faced so far this year, it is the fact he uttered the comments at a meeting that was in part addressing the culture of sexism within the company. Several members of the press were also present at the meeting.
During the meeting, that took place at the start of the week, fellow board member Ariana Huffington informed everyone that a new female member, Ling Martello, has been added to the board in a bid to increase diversity. Released audio of the meeting by Yahoo Finance captures the moment that Bonderman makes the sexist comments in relation to Martello’s appointment:
“There’s a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board,” said Huffington. Bonderman replied with, “Actually what it shows is it’s much likely to be more talking.” David Bonderman has now resigned, and is just the latest of a string of executives to either be fired or resign from the company.
Another day, another resignation
Another member of the board also resigned last week. Eric Alexander left the company after it was discovered that he had obtained the medical records of a woman raped during a ride in India, in an apparent attempt to discredit her testimony. Travis Kalamick was also reported to have seen the medical report.
On Sunday, the board of directors voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of a workplace review led by the law firm of the former US attorney general Eric Holder. The firm was to hired to look into allegations of harassment, discrimination and an aggressive culture. The 47 recommendations include creating a board oversight committee, rewriting Uber’s cultural values, reducing alcohol use at work events, and prohibiting intimate relationships between employees and their bosses.
Better, faster, stronger
“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here, rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick concluded in his email to employees. “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.”