Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes a leave of absence from the company
Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, will be commencing on a leave of Absence from the company to have all the time he needs to grieve for her mother, Bonnie Kalanick, who was killed in a boating accident weeks ago. The husband and Travis’s father still remains in critical condition.
Travis leave of absence is contained in a company-wide email he sent out.
“Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team,” he wrote.
Nevertheless, Travis’ decision is not unconnected with a revelation in recent months about what is considered a “widespread mismanagement and toxic culture” at the car-hailing company under Travis’ superintendence.
Travis’ decisions comes at the heels of recommendations of an investigation law firm Covington & Burling conducted into the company’s culture and management and unveiled to the Uber staff. The investigation was triggered by a former female engineer’s sordid report of sexim and sexual harassment at the company.
Other recommendations include, which the board unanimously voted, the reallocation of Travis’ duties and roles, which as many see it, is a critical part of the turnaround of the company.
The report reads: “The Board should evaluate the extent to which some of the responsibilities that Mr. Kalanick has historically possessed should be shared or given outright to other members of senior management. The search for a Chief Operating Officer should address this concern to some extent.”
The new COO is still yet to be named by Uber while Travis’ wasn’t specific as to the length of time his leave of absence will take.
Meanwhile, as Travis wrote, his direct reports will be running the company.
The company will be departmentalized thus: Business operations will continue to be run by Rachel Holt in the U.S. and Canada; Andrew Macdonald in Latin America and Asia; and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The company’s product team will be run by Daniel Graf — who recently replaced Ed Baker as head of product — and the engineering team will continue to be headed up by company CTO Thuan Pham.
The chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey and newly hired SVP of leadership and strategy Frances Frei will focus on organizational and cultural changes. Legal will continue to be run by its chief legal officer Salle Yoo, though the company is also searching for a new general counsel.
Eric Meyhofer — who recently took over from controversial executive Anthony Levandowski — will continue to head up Uber’s self-driving efforts.
According to Uber, the long list of Uber’s direct reports will act as a team, even if it sounds a bit of a mess.