Travis Kalanick Taking a Break From Uber

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Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber

The controversial CEO of Uber Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday that he is temporarily retiring from his duties, a first step for the company, which is trying to reform its culture while promising to take a series of measures to correct its image.

“I need to take some rest” because of the “recent events” writes the boss of Uber, referring to the accidental death of his mother last month, he announced Tuesday in an email to employees , without specifying the duration of this leave.

This sidelining of Mr Kalanick was indirectly advocated by the law firm who is charged of investigating the sulphurous reputation of the company and whose recommendations were also published on Tuesday. They were approved by the board, Uber said in a statement.

According to this 13-page document, Uber must “review” Travis Kalanick’s responsibilities, including thinking about those that could be “shared” or “entrusted to others.”

During the interim period, Mr. Kalanick will be relieved of his duties but will be “available” if important decisions are to be taken, he adds.

“If we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve,” says Kalanick.

The company has faced several lawsuits and resignations  in the last few months, on grounds of accusations of harassment or sexism mainly but also on suspicions of theft of technology. Mr. Kalanick, as his right-hand man Emil Michael who resigned Monday, is accused of having personally encouraged inappropriate and brutal practices in the company.

After the resignation of an engineer claiming to have been the victim of sexual harassment, in February Uber commissioned a law firm to examine issues related to “the working environment” and “more generally on diversity and inclusion at Uber “.

In addition to the fate of the CEO, the law firm advocates “trust”, “transformation” and “responsibility”. The lawyers also recommend re-establishing a management team — several executive positions at the company are currently vacant — especially to find a real Chief Operating Officer (COO).

They also suggest strengthening ways to address potential problems in the corporate chain, including strengthening the human resources department or giving more power and visibility to the Head of Diversity.

The firm also advises the “restructure of the board of directors” so that there are independent members, and in general, to improve the “internal control” and reporting procedures. The lawyers also advocated for “mandatory training” for management and human resources.

Uber will also have to clarify to his employees that certain inappropriate behaviors are “prohibited even if they are not illegal.

The company promised in a statement to “implement these recommendations”, which will “promote equity and accountability and establish practices that will prevent repeating the mistakes of the past.”

In addition to management problems, Uber faces financial problems. The value of the group is estimated at over $ 70 billion, based on its ability to raise fresh money from investors. For Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry, a range of “$ 2 billion to $ 3 billion” would be more reasonable.

Uber is not profitable either. The group’s accounts, some of which were disclosed to the press at the end of May, show a loss of $ 708 million for the first three months of the year, after a “hole” of $ 2.8 billion, Last year.