New York: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence for an unspecified period and let his leadership team run the troubled ride-hailing company while he’s gone.
Kalanick said he needs time off to grieve for his mother, who died in a May boating accident. He also said he’s responsible for the company’s current situation and needs to become a better leader.
The announcement comes as former US Attorney Eric Holder released a list of recommendations to improve Uber’s culture.
He recommended that Kalanick be relieved of some leadership responsibilities, shifting them to a chief operating officer and other senior managers. The COO would be a partner with Kalanick.
Holder recommended that Uber use performance reviews to hold senior managers accountable by setting metrics for improving diversity and responsiveness to employee complaints.
Holder’s firm, Covington & Burling LLP, and a second firm, Perkins Coie, were asked to conduct separate examinations of Uber’s workplace culture after a former engineer levelled charges of sexual harassment.
Susan Fowler posted a blog in February that detailed sexual harassment during the year she spent at Uber. Fowler wrote she was propositioned by her manager on her first her with an engineering team. She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture but no further punishment because he was a “high performer,” she wrote.
Holder’s investigators conducted more than 200 interviews with current and former employees, including people who had knowledge of Fowler’s allegations, according to the law firm’s recommendations.