Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes an indefinite leave of absence from the company, following the release of a highly anticipated report on Uber’s workplace culture.
In an email to staff, Kalanick said he was taking “time off from the day-to-day”, giving no end to the widely anticipated hiatus which comes after difficult times of professional and personal turmoil for the CEO.
“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 said.
Kalanick said he would be working on a team that could lead “Uber 2.0.”
“For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But 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.”
During his period away, Kalanick will hand over some of his responsibilities to a committee. In the letter, Kalanick suggests that he’ll use the time to grow as a person, which will ultimately help the company.
His decision to take time off as CEO of Uber comes after a difficult few months for the company, which has been under fire after former employee Susan Fowler alleged that Uber failed to adequately handle sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints.
Meanwhile, a statement was included in Uber’s note announcing new policies that are meant to help it fight sexual harassment and change a corporate culture that has been blamed for allowing workplace misconduct to flourish. Uber’s board unanimously accepted former US attorney general Eric Holder’s recommendations for improving the company.
The first recommendation in the report, according to a 13-page summary, is titled “Changes to senior leadership”. It calls for some of Kalanick’s duties to be reallocated and emphasises the importance of the company’s plan to hire a chief operating officer.
Other recommendations ranged from improving accountability and training at the company to bolstering both Uber’s human resources department and its employee complaint process.
The plan also calls for increasing diversity and establishing a version of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” that would require Uber to include at least one female and one minority candidate in hiring for jobs and to include a woman and/or a minority on hiring panels.
This story was first published in Marketing magazine.