Investigation recommends Uber scale back responsibilities of CEO Travis Kalanick

Investigation recommends Uber scale back responsibilities of CEO Travis Kalanick

Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick said he's taking a leave of absence after an independent investigation.

A court ruling against Uber could undermine to the company's efforts to develop self-driving cars, some analysts said, raising questions about its ability to survive in a world where companies from Tesla to Ford are vying for dominance over the future of automated transportation.

His temporary move is the latest and most important departure from the executive ranks of the company, which is now worth $68 billion. Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski - a former top manager for Google's self-driving vehicle project - stole pivotal technology from Google before leaving to run Uber's self-driving auto division. But its reputation has suffered over the harassment reports, and the company has also faced challenges to its labor and competition practices, as well as a lawsuit from Google's parent company over its self-driving vehicle program. "The knives are out in many corners because of what he has done with his approach to women, his approach to people in general and certainly his appropriateness as a CEO".

The recommendations were not immediately known, but Uber is facing pressure to rein in its take-no-prisoners style led by Kalanick and to reform a workplace culture.

Another recommendation in the new plan calls for Uber to forbid "any type of romantic or intimate relationship between individuals in a reporting relationship". The company's board unanimously adopted all of the recommendations Sunday. In one instance, female employees were told they would need to pay for their own leather jackets even though men were getting them for free; a manager explained to her that there weren't enough women to justify buying them in bulk, she wrote. In an email to employees he wrote that he believes in "creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do". But Lyft Inc. has stolen some market share in the USA, and Uber's internal strife could open opportunities for competitors globally to lure partners, raise funds or poach talent.

Whether it stays there and welcomes top people in the industry into its fold remains reliant on whether it can indeed learn from its mistakes and push forward. "They blame everything in their life on somebody else", Kalanick told the driver as he got out of the auto and slammed the door.

Again, Kalanick apologized and promised to change. Kalanick told employees about his decision Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in a memo. That gives me time with family.

Since then Uber's scandals have mounted, however.

In short: Google filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing company claiming it stole self-driving vehicle technology; Uber's secretive Greyball tool meant to thwart police was uncovered; the ride-hailing company was caught using a program called "Hell" to spy on its rival Lyft; it was revealed Apple threatened to boot Uber from the App Store for violating privacy rules; and a long list of top executives have either been fired or stepped down.

The San Francisco group parted ways this week with its number two executive, Emil Michael, who had been reportedly linked to a number of questionable practices at Uber including a visit to a South Korean escort-karaoke bar and an attempt to dig up embarrassing information on journalists. He and his allies from Uber's early days are said to dominate the board's voting power. An Uber spokesperson confirmed the figures to Mic, and said that the terminations fell into categories that included sexual harassment, discrimination, unprofessional behavior, bullying and retaliation. Dozens more employees were placed in training or counseling.

The crisis was sparked by a February 19 blog post by former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler.

Alpern does envision a way for Kalanick to still guide Uber, but it would require the CEO to lead by example in a genuine way that makes employees believe the shift is for real.

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