Christmas Eve news dump: Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, the man behind the ride-hailing company’s meteoric global rise despite its highly speculative business model that’s never turned a profit, is leaving its board of directors, Uber said in a statement on Tuesday. He’s also dumped all of his remaining stock in the company.
Kalanick’s resignation from the board will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2019. In a statement, current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi—who was hired in large part to clean up Kalanick’s seemingly unending series of messes and scandals—wrote, “Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber. I’m enormously grateful for Travis’ vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member.”
“Everyone at Uber wishes him all the best,” Khosrowshahi added.
Per CNBC, Uber’s latest public filings pegged his stake in the company was around $US2.5 ($4) billion, though he’s been dumping stock since a lockup period expired in November. Kalanick will turn to “new business and philanthropic endeavours,” according to the Uber statement.
Kalanick’s severing of his final ties with Uber comes as the company he built is facing existential threats from regulators, competitors, and the continued inability of its own business model to stop burning through billions of funding. The company’s 2019 initial public offering was the worst-performing in U.S. stock market history, while shares have continued to slide downwards.
Under Kalanick’s tenure, Uber endured numerous scandals, including labour disputes with the fleets of poorly-paid contractors that power Uber’s core taxi and delivery businesses, systemic mishandling of reports of sexual harassment in the workplace and assaults on customers, and flagrant disregard for local laws and regulations. Kalanick himself was filmed screaming at a bankrupt Uber driver in early 2017, resulting in a great deal of embarrassment.
Even after he was forced out as CEO in June 2017, Kalanick reportedly remained a major headache for the company’s management and board for months, with widespread perception that he was jockeying for a return to power. The board eventually voted to strip him of most of his remaining control; Kalanick has since become an investment fund goon and “cloud kitchens” guy, and wasn’t even invited to attend the IPO bell ringing earlier this year.