Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, Resigns

UPDATE: It was reported by The New York Times that Travis Kalanick has officially stepped down as CEO of Uber yesterday. Kalanick was facing pressure from five major investors of Uber and he announced his resignation in an email to the company.

The Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, announced last week that he will be taking a leave of absence from the company. His email to all Uber employees cited his mother’s recent death as the catalyst for his indefinite leave to work on himself and become a better “leader.” He also states that he will leave it to his leadership team to guide Uber. Kalanick understandably needs the space and time to grieve, but his departure comes at a rocky time for the company.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks to students during an interaction at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Mumbai, India, January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui - RTX231O6

Uber solidified its infamy, especially through sexism, this year. Uproxx created a timeline that details the scandals and controversies connected to Uber that have rolled out from the beginning of the year to the end of April. Although the #DeleteUber social media campaign in January was a major blow, it was the story of Susan Fowler, a previous Uber employee, that did the most damage. During her year at Uber, Fowler experienced sexual harassment and sexist discrimination by her fellow employees and even by Uber’s human resources department. Her account created started an outrage that would be fueled by the  many more who came forward. From there, the reputation of the company snowballed and Uber could not recover.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was hired to investigate Fowler’s allegations. This week, Uber released Holder’s report and recommendations for company improvement on Tuesday. It was a unanimous vote to accept all of Holder’s recommendations, but it will be difficult to change Uber’s problematic corporate culture. Why? Because the sexism problem in the company is inherent. Kalanick is accused of sexual assault and other criminal behavior towards competitors. At the company-wide meeting that reviewed over Holder’s report to improve corporate culture on Tuesday, a board member literally  made a sexist comment during a discussion of gender diversity in Uber’s leadership. The vacancies in the company’s top-level positions are telling of how precarious the situation is. Uber has a long journey and it’s hard to tell if they can truly improve.