Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns after pressure from investors

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned effective immediately, following an indefinite leave of absence that was announced just last week. Kalanick said that the leave of absence was to grieve for the recent death of his mother.

The New York Times reported that five of Uber’s major investors had called for Kalanick’s resignation earlier on Tuesday, including venture capital group Benchmark, which is one of Uber’s biggest shareholders. An Uber spokesperson confirmed the NYT‘s report with Ars.

Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board of directors, and he still controls a majority of the company’s voting shares; he’ll still be a key player in future decisions, including the hiring of a new CEO.

Uber’s board proffered the following statement:

Travis has always put Uber first. This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber. By stepping away, he’s taking the time to heal from his personal tragedy while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history. We look forward to continuing to serve with him on the board.

An Uber spokesperson provided this statement from Kalanick, which feels like an excerpt from a company-wide memo:

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.

allegations of institutional sexism, the employment status of its drivers, a lawsuit claiming an Uber employee stole intellectual property from Google, and semi-regular reminders that Uber’s execs are willing to go a little too far in violating customer privacy to maintain the company’s dominance.

It’s fairly unusual for a tech startup’s CEO to be ousted by the board—doubly so for Uber, which from a shareholder’s perspective has been massively successful with a valuation of around $70 billion. The five shareholders that called for Kalanick’s resignation also asked that he support a board-led search for a new CEO; that Uber immediately hires an experienced chief financial officer; and that two of three empty board seats are filled with “truly independent directors.”

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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