Uber Technologies Inc. did not give any public statement Wednesday, a day after its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick agreed to step down at the technology company offering ride-hailing services.
The co-founder of Uber, a San Francisco-based startup currently estimated to be worth 68 billion U.S. dollars, was forced out Tuesday by a shareholder revolt, launched by five of the technology company's major investors, according to a New York Times report.
The New York Times, which was among the first to report the incident, and the Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources to identify the five investors who demanded Kalanick's resignation as Benchmark, Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and Fidelity Investments.
However, neither Uber nor Kalanick responded to the reports, other than a statement cited in the initial New York Times report as from the 40-year-old CEO: "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."
Holding a type of stock that endows them with an outsize number of votes, collectively about 40 percent of Uber's voting power, the five investors delivered a letter to Kalanick earlier Tuesday, demanding that he resign immediately, two unnamed sources told the newspaper.
The latest news from Uber itself was its announcement Tuesday that, for the first time, a tap on its ride-hailing mobile software application, or app, would allow passengers to tip the company's drivers in the United States.
A week ago, Kalanick announced he would take time off from Uber as recommended by an outside team.
The same day, Uber issued a statement regarding recommendations by the team from law firm Covington & Burling LLP together with a 13-page list of what Uber was 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."
While "tone at the top, trust, transformation, and accountability" were proposed to be "remedial measures" for the company, the first specific recommendation regarding leadership changes was to "review and reallocate the responsibilities of Travis Kalanick."
The outside team, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, 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 ineffectiveness of its policies and procedures.
However, at the time, 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 an indefinite leave of absence.
"For the past eight years my life has always been about Uber," Kalanick wrote in an internal email.
"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.
After being pushed out of the top position within Uber, the company he co-founded in 2009, he still retains control of a majority voting shares and will remain on its board of directors.
While the public discussions turned Wednesday to finding a new CEO for Uber, now operating in about 570 cities worldwide, there was talk about making it a public company with initial public offering (IPO), through which investors could cash out.