Travis Kalanick announced on June 20 that he would be resigning as the CEO of Uber after the tragic death of his mother, but the exit really came after pressure from investors to leave the company. Here’s why he was pushed out.
“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,” Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, confirmed in a statement on June 20. Earlier in the day, major investors in the company reportedly delivered a letter to Travis, demanding him to step down because Uber needed a change in leadership, and he eventually agreed, according to the New York Times. This decision comes after months of turmoil for Uber — here are some of the problems the company has faced in recent months that led to Travis being pushed out.
1. Sexual harassment accusations. In February, a former Uber engineer named Susan Fowler made shocking allegations that she was sexually harassed by her direct supervisor. She claims she was ignored by human resources when she reported the issue.”It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR,” she wrote. “Upper management told me that he was a ‘high performer’ and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.” At the time, Travis launched an investigation into the claims.
2. Other harassment claims. Once Susan came forward, more employees began opening up about their time at Uber, painting a picture of a very aggressive environment. It was revealed that in 2016, at least two Uber employees complained of harassment by managers and colleagues, and as of February, the company was facing at least three lawsuits for sexual harassment and/or verbal abuse.
3. Google lawsuit. In May, Uber fired a Vice President of technology at the company named Anthony Levandowski after he was accused of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo. Anthony previously worked at Google, and went on to start his own company, Otto, that was eventually acquired by Uber for $700 million, and Waymo alleged in a lawsuit that Uber, via Anthony, stole Google’s trade ideas to develop its’ own self-driving vehicles.
4. Using software to evade the law. Also in May, Uber became the subject of a federal inquiry over it’s use of Geryball, a software tool that allowed the company to evade law enforcement services. Regulators had begun cracking down on Uber, and the company reportedly used Greyball, allowing drivers to deploy what was essentially a fake version of the app, to deceive officials.
5. Underpaying drivers. Uber admitted in late May that the company has underpaid tens of thousands of New York City drivers since Nov. 2014. This happened because Uber was charging drivers’ commission (on average, 25 percent of the ride fare) before deducting other fees, like sales tax.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of Travis’ decision to resign?