Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, is stepping aside indefinitely from the company he cofounded. He cited the death of his mother, who died in a boating accident in May, as the reason he was taking time off.
In a company-wide memo to staff, Kalanick wrote, “It’s hard to put a timeline on this – it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes.”
The announcement comes a day after Emil Michael, Uber’s SVP of business and a right-hand man to Kalanick, announced his departure from the company. The company now no longer has a COO, CBO, CFO, CMO, or Head of Engineering; and is now temporarily without a CEO.
Despite ongoing internal crises and outside pressure, Kalanick’s decision to take a leave of absence was likely his own. He and his allies from the early days of Uber are reported to dominant the board’s voting power. Members of the board include Kalanick, Uber’s cofounder Garrett Camp, Uber’s first CEO Ryan Graves, longtime Uber investor Bill Gurley, author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington, and others.
Early this year, after video surfaced of him arguing with an Uber driver, Kalanick admitted that he “must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”
According to CNN Tech, there is a key effort underway to fill top leadership positions in Uber with seasoned executives. That effort includes a search for a COO who might help Kalanick in the way that Sheryl Sandberg did for Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.
Danita White for TechFunnel.com