Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Is Going on Indefinite Leave After the Expose of Toxic Work Culture At Uber

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Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick has decided to stay away from the company’s day-to-day operation for some time now. According to the latest email sent by Kalanick, it’s high time for him to revisit company’s strategy and management, besides reinventing himself to guarantee the success of Uber 2.0. Although he has cited his mother’s sudden demise as a reason behind his leave, industry analysts read much more into his statements.

In his email written to all Uber employees, Kalanick has highlighted the importance of family and people.

“For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber,” Kalanick wrote. “Recent events have brought home for me that people are more 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.”

It is not clear how long Kalanick will be on leave, but Kalanick finds it the best time when he needs to reinvest himself as Kalanick 2.0 for the success of Uber 2.0

Kalanick also emphasised on the fact that, going further, Uber 2.0 success largely depends on the management team. Therefore, he may be utilising his absence for building a world-class leadership team for Uber 2.0

“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,” Kalanick said.

Rumours were making rounds about the fate of Kalanick’ future in Uber after the company’s board received the report from the law firm Covington & Burling on the work culture of Uber. The report has exposed the toxic work culture Uber – the world’s most valuable startup – has been practising for the last few years. Since then speculations were making rounds on the internet about some strict action board may suggest to the management.

The axe is fallen first on Kalanick’s eyes and ears; Uber’s senior vice president of business, Emil Michael left the company.

But, this is not the first time when Uber has found itself in hot waters. In the eight years of its existence, Uber has been facing severe criticism about his work culture in various countries. At every regular interval, the exit of top management due to similar reasons has been shaking the grounds for the ride-hailing company. Just three months back Uber’s India SVP Amit Singhal was fired for hiding critical information about the ongoing harassment case against him. Recently, Kalanick was criticised for his tone of the email sent to all his employees in 2013 suggesting sexual behaviour.

And, if that was not enough, both Micheal and Kalanick were found seeking the medical records of a woman in India who was raped by a Uber driver.

Though the investigation by Covington & Burling was prompted by Susan Flower and ex-Uber engineer, who was exposed for his pervasive sexism, harassment, and managerial incompetence at the ride-hail company, it was Kalanick and Michael who was under the axe for ignoring the disappointing culture brewing at Uber.

The big question here is, Will Kalanick come back, and if he does, how long it’s going to take for him to transform into Kalanick 2.0?


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