Uber’s founder and CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned after mounting pressure from shareholders over a string of workplace scandals. Previously, he had said he would take a temporary leave of absence in the wake of an investigation into Uber’s company culture, which was said to foster harassment and discrimination.
Five of Uber’s major investors pressured Kalanick to step down, the New York Times reported, including First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, Fidelity Investments and Benchmark, a venture capital firm with a seat on Uber’s board. The group of investors sent a letter to Kalanick yesterday asking for his resignation.
Kalanick will remain a board member at Uber, and the company will search for a new CEO, according to Times.
Uber has faced ongoing scrutiny over allegations of workplace harassment, a criminal probe into its attempts to evade regulators, a lawsuit over trade secret theft brought by Waymo (its competitor in the self-driving car industry), and a lawsuit brought by a woman who alleges her medical files were improperly shared by Kalanick and other executives. Twenty Uber employees were recently fired after the harassment investigation, and the head of its autonomous vehicle program was fired for refusing to cooperate in the lawsuit.
Even though Silicon Valley startups often pride themselves on their rule-breaking, Uber’s ongoing issues proved too much for its investors. Kalanick was seen by his supporters as a key component to Uber’s success. But with Uber valued at $US70 billion ($92.6 billion), the risk was no longer worth it.
Kalanick’s departure from the chief executive role is just the latest of several from the company’s executive team. There is no chief operating officer or chief financial officer at present, and several other executives have been pushed out in recent months.
“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 said in a statement.