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Uber’s embattled CEO, Travis Kalanick, told employees today that he will take an indefinite leave of absence.
The company’s board of directors held a seven-hour meeting on Sunday to discuss the details of an internal investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, now in private practice at Covington & Burling. In addition to the intense scrutiny on Uber’s corporate culture, Kalanick has undergone personal tragedy recently. Last month, his mother was killed and his father was seriously injured following a boating accident.
Re/code and Techcrunch.
Following the Sunday meeting, a top Uber executive, Emil Michael, was ousted from the company.
As a result of the Holder report, the company also intends to change what’s acceptable in its office culture, according to Bloomberg. The report recommends limiting managers’ alcohol budget and enforcing stricter rules around alcohol, controlled substances, and sexual relationships.
A separate internal investigation led to 20 Uber employees being fired and 31 placed in sexual harassment “training or counseling.”
Some of Kalanick’s responsibilities will go to an as-yet-unnamed chief operating officer. Still, there’s no “clear No. 2” who will take over. Last week, the company hired a new executive from Harvard Business School, Frances Frei, and also added an independent director, Nestle’s Ling Martello.
“The process was longer than we thought and more painful than we thought, but this chapter comes to an end today,” said Arianna Huffington, an Uber board member, in a statement for today’s staff meeting published by Bloomberg. “Our task now is to learn, rebuild and move forward together to write Uber’s next chapter.”
“During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company,” said Kalanick. “I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly. It’s hard to put a timeline on this—it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me, and I need to properly say my goodbyes.”