Business Travel

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns

SAN FRANCISCO — Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber, the ride-hailing company he helped found.

Kalanick stepped down late on Monday Pacific time, after receiving a letter from some of the largest investors in the company. The letter, titled “Moving Uber Forward,” asked that the CEO step down immediately but also assist in the search for his successor as well as a chief financial officer, according to anonymous sources quoted in the report.

The news, first reported in The New YorkTimes included a statement from 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,” he said.

Uber confirmed that Kalanick’s statement obtained by the Times was accurate.

Among the investors asking for Kalanick’s resignation were representatives from First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, Fidelity Investments and Benchmark Capital. Benchmark partner Bill Gurley is on Uber’s board, along with Kalanick, co-founder Garrett Camp.

Kalanick will remain on the board, the report said.

The news comes as Uber has been grappling with a host of problems that range from a toxic and sexist work culture to pursuing aggressive business practices that often have skirted the legal line.

The blog post of former Uber engineer Susan Fowler led to a three-month internal investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose recommendations, released last week, included tighter oversight of the company’s board and senior executives as well as an overhaul of its human resources practices.

Kalanick has long been seen inside and outside the company as integral to both the company’s meteoric rise as well as its recent crash. Kalanick, 40, shrugged aside opposition from taxi unions and municipal officials to barge his company into hundreds of cities in more than 80 countries in just nine years.

In the process, his tactics rankled rivals and regulators but also contributed to Uber being able to raise upward of $15 billion and become the world most valuable tech startup with a valuation approaching $70 billion.

But inside the company, which quickly mushroomed in size — Uber doubled to 10,000 employees in 2016 alone, and now has 12,000 on the payroll — all was not well.

The extent of the dysfunction was made plain in Fowler’s post, which described an environment where not only was it common for a male boss to make a sexual advance toward a female employee, but that reporting such an incident was often met by shrugs from HR and warnings that further complaints could mean a bad review.

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