It’s only been a week into Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s sudden leave of absence from the ride-hailing startup but he’s already telling us he has no plans to come back. Kalanick announced on June 20th he is officially resigning as CEO, though he’ll remain in his role as a member of the board of directors. But the departure wasn’t his own doing. By all accounts, the exit was the culmination of a dramatic revolt by the company’s investors.
Kalanick first announced his leave on June 13th in the wake of former Attorney General Eric Holder’s damning report on toxic company culture and widespread sexual harassment at Uber. Though the board of directors publicly expressed solidarity with Kalanick at the time, some members privately worried the company wouldn’t be able to move past its recent scandals as long as Kalanick remained at the helm.
One major investor, Bill Gurley, led the campaign that would ultimately force Kalanick to resign. He drafted a letter titled “Moving Uber Forward” signed by five other board members which demanded Kalanick step down, according to the Washington Post. When Kalanick received the letter Tuesday, he consulted with at least one other board member who advised him not to fight this battle and do what was best for the company instead.
And so Kalanick took his final bow in a letter to all 13,000 Uber employees Tuesday, per the Post. The email reads:
“As you all know, I love Uber more than anything in the world, but at this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted a group of investors’ request to step aside, so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight. I will continue to serve on the board, and will be available in any and all ways to help Uber become everything we’ve dreamed it would be.”
The board is actively looking for a replacement CEO but it’s slim pickings at the top with so many vacant positions at the leadership level. The company is currently missing a COO, CFO, and CMO. And amid the steady stream of scandals to make headlines this year, the company watched executives hemorrhage out in a series of resignations and firings.
By all accounts, the exit was the culmination of a dramatic revolt by the company’s investors.
Yet in what may bode a sign of changing times, Uber also announced a new feature allowing you to tip your driver in the app – something Lyft has allowed since 2012. The move seems to signify Uber’s attempt at doing a better job listening to the drivers on which the business is built, something they’ve gotten criticized for not doing enough of.
In a statement announcing the new feature, Uber writes: “Why now? Because it’s the right thing to do, it’s long overdue, and there’s no time like the present. This is just the beginning. We know there’s a long road ahead, but we won’t stop until we get there.”