Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

New York Times sources say Uber discussing leave for CEO

New York Times sources say Uber discussing leave for CEO

The Uber Board met today with Eric Holder and Tammy Albarrán.

The Times reported that three people with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that Uber's board was meeting to consider recommendations from a law firm hired to review Uber's corporate culture and that the board may decide to put CEO Travis Kalanick on temporary leave.

The Uber board of directors is said to have "unanimously voted to adopt all of the recommendations made in the report", according to the New York Times.

Emil Michael, senior vice president and a close Kalanick ally, has left the company, the source said.

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It would also come at a sensitive time to the CEO, Michael's personal friend and the company's co-founder, who likely discussed taking a leave of absence from the company at a private board meeting on Sunday. It comes shortly after another law firm, Perkins Coie, submitted a separate report on sexual harassment and other employee concerns at the company. His absence at this point in the Uber investigation leaves company leadership in a tenuous position - particularly amidst claims of his involvement in the company's systematic issues with inequality and harassment. He was also one of the Uber executives who went to a karaoke bar in Seoul on a business trip that same year, where executives reportedly selected women to be their companions for the night by the numbers hanging around their necks.

Uber Technologies Inc. has been rocked by accusations that it has fostered a workplace environment that condones harassment, discrimination and bullying.

Kalanick has been at the center of Uber's roiling harassment scandal with reports from former employees alleging the company's culture and tone was set from the top.

Earlier this year, Mr Kalanick made headlines after a dashcam video recorded him losing his temper with an Uber driver who had complained about pay. While the CEO himself initially told individuals he may need a break following the death of his mother in a boat accident that also sent his father to the hospital, this move could destabilise Uber's leadership hierarchy. In the aftermath he said "I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up". The exact extent of new management oversights and company policy changes that Covington & Burling recommended is still unclear, but the thereof are said to significantly limit the autonomy of Kalanick and other top executives at the company in an effort to improve its operations and public standing.

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