Sci-tech

Uber's Travis Kalanick Announces Leave Of Absence; Company Adopts Harassment Policies

Uber's Travis Kalanick Announces Leave Of Absence; Company Adopts Harassment Policies

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is taking a leave of absence amid an investigation into workplace culture at the ride-hailing company.

At a staff meeting Tuesday, the company will convey the results of a probe conducted by Eric Holder, the former US attorney general who Uber hired to look into allegations of harassment, discrimination, and an aggressive culture. The announcement comes as former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder released a list of recommendations to improve Uber's toxic culture. He reportedly finished his investigation a couple of weeks ago and presented it to Uber's board of directors to review, along with a set of recommendations.

The report also said Uber should limit the amount of alcohol available at the office and at out-of-office events and needs to strictly prohibit drug use.

The email did not say how long Mr. Kalanick would be on leave.

Kalanick, 40, did not say how long he would be away from Uber, the ride-hailing firm that he helped turn into the world's most valuable venture-backed company, but has run into problems due to its rough-and-tumble approach to regulations and its own employees.

"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", Kalanick wrote in his email.

The almost 50 recommendations targeted everything from Kalanick's role and control to ways for senior leadership to hold managers accountable for a cultural turnaround.

Executives at Uber had looked to the Holder report as a likely turning point in their efforts to put the company's past indiscretions behind them and provide a road map for the future.

The report also urged a crackdown on Uber's lax internal controls, suggesting changes that could make the company come more in line with the structure of a large public company.

Michael, Uber's SVP of business, left the company after the board meeting.

But Lyft has taken a route of partnering to expand its global footprint while also teaming up with auto manufacturers, including Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit Waymo, which is odds with Uber. She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture but no further punishment because he was a "high performer", she wrote.

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Uber's new head of human resources Liane Hornsey said in a statement that "implementing (the report) recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated".

Uber's story is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend, rising fast in eight years from bootstrapped local favorite to global phenomenon valued at close to $70 billion.

"While change does not happen overnight, we're committed to rebuilding trust with our employees, riders and drivers".

Uber Technologies Inc.'s misfortunes may have created an opening for its underdog rival Lyft Inc.

The final item in the summary that Uber released Tuesday calls for a review of the company's pay practices to make sure it complies with state and federal equal pay laws.

Uber announced last week that it fired 20 employees for harassment problems after a separate investigation by a different law firm. It could also be that leadership is losing faith in his ability to pivot the company.


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