Programmatic Lunch

Uber founder Travis Kalanick resigns as CEO, following pressure from shareholders

Tyrone Stewart

Travis KalanickUber co-founder Travis Kalanick has stepped down as chief executive of the ride-hailing company following a turbulent six or so months that have seen his stability questioned, and his company embroiled in several controversies, scandals and legal cases. He will remain on Uber’s board of directors.


As first reported by the New York Times, Kalanick chose to resign following a revolt from five of Uber’s biggest investors, all asking him to resign immediately. They did so in letter delivered to Kalanick while he was in Chicago.


“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick told The Times in a statement.


The five shareholders, which made the request for Kalanick to step aside, account for around 40 per cent of Uber’s voting power. These shareholders are Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capita, Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments.


The decision to resign comes just a week after Kalanick decided he would take a leave of absence from the company. That initial decision came after the board unanimously adopted 47 recommendations from former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his Covington & Burling law firm, following one of a few investigations into allegations of harassment, discrimination and bullying within the company. These recommendations have seen the company commit to increasing accountability, changing leadership, focusing on collaboration and empathy, and empowering diverse perspectives.


Another of these investigations, led by law firm Perkins Coie, saw 20 members of staff being fired – including some senior executives. All investigations have come as a result of a blog post by former engineering employee Susan Fowler that alleged she encountered sexism and sexual harassment during her time at Uber.


All of this has led to Uber to Uber sending an email out to former users in various markets apologising for letting them down, and admitting to having “fallen short” of satisfying riders and staff.


In the wake of all of this, it can be difficult to remember that Uber’s problems go a little bit further than that. There’s also the fact that the company suffered a loss of £708m in Q1 2017, as its struggles also continue on the financial front. On top of that, we can’t forget the company’s ongoing Google/Waymo self-driving lawsuit and the US Department of Justice investigation into Uber’s illegal use of authority evasion software.


“All companies have growing pains. And because Uber grew so fast these growing pains are much more serious,” said the quieter half of Uber’s founding pair, Garrett Camp, in a Medium post. “Over the years we have neglected parts of our culture as we have focused on growth. We have failed to build some of the systems that every company needs to scale successfully. But what matters now is that we know what needs to be changed. We must update our core values, listen better to employees and riders, and prioritize our drivers. The team at Uber has some of the best problem solvers in the world, and we must now apply our talents to solving these issues through clear actions.”


To get to working on becoming a better company, Uber has committed to 180 days of change. These 180 days will see major improvements for drivers.


In the first batch of changes, Uber has finally introduced a tipping option. This option will initially be available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston, with the option being available to all of the US next month. There is no word if this option will be rolled out globally.


In addition to tipping, Uber has introduced a shorter two-minute cancellation window, no more unpaid wait times, all trips now count toward Quest totals, Quest earning are available for immediate cash out, expanded driver destinations, driver injury protection insurance, and a teen fare.