Uber Considering Leave of Absence for CEO Travis Kalanick, Report Says
After months of scandals, Uber's CEO is feeling the heat.
It hasn't been an easy year for Uber. The company is locked in a legal battle with Waymo over self-driving car tech and faces a high profile investigation into sexual harassment, along with numerous other smaller scandals and controversies.
All of this may finally be catching up with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Uber's board weighed a three-month leave of absence for Kalanick during a recent meeting, reports The New York Times, citing three people with knowledge of the matter.
The board also reportedly voted unanimously to adopt all recommendations made in a report by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, whose law firm, Covington & Burling, is one of two that have been retained to investigate sexual harassment allegations after explosive accusations made by a female former Uber engineer in February. Holder's recommendations reportedly included firing Emil Michael, Uber senior vice president and one of Kalanick's closest allies.
Kalanick proposed taking time off last month after a boating accident that killed his mother and sent his father to the hospital. A leave of absence under those circumstances would seem reasonable, but it could also be viewed as a repudiation of Kalanick's management style and recent decisions, notes The New York Times.
However, because Kalanick and a handful of allies hold the majority of so-called "super voting" shares that give them more influence in board decisions, Kalanick's position is likely safe even if he does decide to take a leave of absence.
The boardroom discussion on Kalanick's leave of absence preceded the Tuesday release of the Covington & Burling report on sexual harassment and general misconduct at the ride-sharing company. The second law firm involved in the investigation, Perkins Coie, already released its report, which led to the firing of 20 Uber employees. Eric Alexander, head of Uber's Asia Pacific business, was also recently let go.