Uber's CEO takes leave as recommended by outside team

Updated 2017-06-14 11:10:36 Xinhua

Travis Kalanick, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uber Technologies Inc., said Tuesday he will take time off from the technology company offering ride-hailing services.

The move confirmed what has been reported in the media since Sunday, that the 40-year-old co-founder of Uber, a startup currently worth 68 billion US dollars according to some estimates, will leave as recommended by an outside team.

The San Francisco-based firm issued the same day a statement regarding recommendations by the team from law firm Covington & Burling LLP, where former US Attorney General Eric Holder is a partner, together with a 13-page full list of what Uber is supposed to do to "improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated."

Uber employees were presented Tuesday morning the recommendations, which were "unanimously approved by the Board on Sunday," said the statement.

While "tone at the top, trust, transformation, and accountability" are proposed to be "remedial measures," the first specific recommendation regarding leadership changes is "review and reallocate the responsibilities of Travis Kalanick."

Holder's team was hired to launch an internal investigation a day after Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, detailed in a blog posting on Feb 19 allegations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation during her employment at the company, and the ineffectiveness its policies and procedures.

However, Kalanick cited the need to grieve for the loss of his mother, who died in a boating accident in May, for his decision to take a leave.

"For the past eight years my life has always been about Uber," Kalanick wrote in an internal email accessed by some media outlets. "Recent events have brought home for me that people are important than work, and that 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."

Kalanick has been criticized for his management styles, and for allowing Uber's corporate culture to harbor some abusive behaviors.

"I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions," he told employees, adding that "I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly."

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