NEW YORK: After months of crisis, global app-based taxicab aggregator Uber's embattled CEO Travis Kalanick has finally stepped down following intense pressure from investors on Tuesday, media reported.
According to a report in the New York Times, Uber's five major investors had sought that the chief executive resign immediately and made their demand clear in a letter that was also delivered to Kalanick.
"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 told NYT in a statement.
The problems for Kalanick started earlier this year in February when a former Uber engineer in a blog post alleged sexual harassment and gender bias during her time at the company. Following which, further allegations from other employees came to light. Kalanick immediately hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an internal investigation.
After the internal investigation conducted by Holder, he said that Uber should "review and reallocate the responsibilities of Travis Kalanick" and search for a chief operating officer who would work closely with the new CEO to improve Uber's corporate culture, which was dogged with workplace sexual harassment.
San Francisco-based Uber, the world's largest ride-hailing app, also fired 20 employees -- including some in senior positions -- after evaluating more than 200 complaints.
Driverless? After Travis Kalanick's resignation, Uber is running without a CEO or financial and operating chiefs https://t.co/FlS6MtbQkk— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 21, 2017
In January, more than 200,000 Uber customers deleted Uber's app as part of the #DeleteUber movement, after drivers tried to do business at JFK airport during a taxi strike organised by The New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Drivers were protesting against President Donald Trump's executive order, which prevented travellers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. Kalanick had initially seemed reluctant to criticise the order.
Uber has also run into some serious issues in India in the recent past, leading to continuous protests by its drivers who are unhappy with its remuneration structures and long work hours, amidst other concerns.
When you wake up to find out that the Uber CEO, Macron's justice minister and the Saudi crown prince have lost their jobs overnight— Mathieu von Rohr (@mathieuvonrohr) June 21, 2017
Earlier this year, the company asked Amit Singhal, India-born senior vice-president of engineering division, to leave the company following allegations of sexual harassment.
The company was sued last week by a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi in 2014 for intrusion of privacy and defamation among other claims after it was revealed that a senior Uber executive obtained her confidential medical records from the Delhi Police and had carried them around with him for a year.
To make matters worse, a dashcam video caught Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver, a few months back, after the driver questioned him about lowered fares. Kalanick later apologised and said he'd seek out ''leadership help".
Uber's phenomenal rise in its short tenure, since it was founded in June 2010 in San Francisco, is largely attributed to Kalanick and his aggressive and often loud personality.
While he may no longer be the CEO, Kalanick will continue to be a board member of the company, and still owns a huge stake in it. "Travis has always put Uber first," said Uber's board in a statement. "This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber. By stepping away, he's taking the time to heal from his personal tragedy while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber's history."
Uber founder Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO. Here’s why things went wrong for the company. pic.twitter.com/9HECm0USjx— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 21, 2017
“Over the next 180 days we are committed to making driving with Uber better than ever,” the company told the New York Times. “We know there’s a long road ahead, but we won’t stop until we get there.”
The next step for the embattled firm is quite formidable. Who will they choose as their next CEO?