Post a traumatic accident in his family, where Uber CEO Travis Kalanick lost his mother and his father was hospitalized, he has been mulling over the need for some time-off from work. Ever since 2009, Kalanick has worked endlessly to make Uber what it is now, a near $70 billion entity. However, the possibility of Kalanick taking a leave of absence has triggered a leadership crisis within the company. Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelinesAlso Read - Uber launches 'Uber Connect' package delivery service to rival Dunzo and Swiggy Genie
Amid all the investigations on workplace culture and sexual harassment on Uber, the company board has now been discussing Kalanick s possible three months long leave of absence. The discussion involves the possibility that Kalanick might return in a role with less authority, either in a position other than CEO or as CEO with narrower responsibilities and subject to stronger oversight. And it is for certain that any reduction of his involvement in Uber would be significant, given that he molded the ride-hailing service in his own brash image. Also Read - Uber to operate 'Essential' cab service to hospitals and pharmacy stores in 4 cities
However, a Reuters source said it is not clear that the board will make any decision to change Kalanick s role. The board is expected to adopt a number of internal policy and management changes recommended by outside attorneys hired to investigate sexual harassment and the firm’s broader culture. The outside lawyers made no recommendation about Kalanick.
On top of this, what makes the job harder for the board is the rumor of Uber s top lieutenant Emil Michael’s exit from the company. Unfortunately, Michael topped the list of recommendations by the former attorney general Eric H Holder Jr, who was appointed to investigate the company s internal culture. ALSO READ: Uber executive fired for getting medical records of Delhi rape victim
The internal drama at Uber has gripped the broader technology industry, as the ride-hailing company has come to symbolize how start-up culture can go awry. Yet, even in Silicon Valley where propriety can take a back seat to profits, the claims about Uber s corporate culture have been startling, including widespread sexual harassment and the mishandling of the medical records of a woman raped by an Uber driver.
Back in February is when Uber s current crisis came to light, when Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, wrote that she had been routinely sexually harassed when she worked at the company and that the human resources department had done little to help her. After that, an outpouring of other cases followed. ALSO READ: Uber fires executive who allegedly stole documents from Google
Uber has since faced other problems, including an intellectual property dispute over self-driving car technology with Waymo, the self-driving car business that operates under Google s parent company. Uber is also dealing with a Justice Department investigation into tools that it used to evade law enforcement personnel in cities where the authorities were trying to shut down its ride-hailing service. Many executives have left the company in recent months.