After Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned, the search for somebody to take the reign at the ride-hailing company began. With the multiple legal complications surrounding the company included accusations of sexual harassment, Uber’s board of directors thought having a female CEO would be a new direction and new start for the company.
Numerous high-profile female executives including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki, General Motors’ Mary Barra, EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall, and Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman were approached to lead Uber upfront, but have all either turned the offer down or are no longer considered likely hires.
To this, Joelle Emerson, Chief of Diversity Consultancy at Paradigm told The Washington Post, “We are disappointed, of course. It could have communicated a commitment on the company’s part to having a more inclusive culture. Though certainly I don’t think hiring a woman would have guaranteed that.”
Uber’s challenges are not limited to rampant sexism, but ongoing legal battles, upstart competitors like Lyft, annual losses in the billions of dollars ($2.8 billion in 2016 alone) and the resignations of most of its senior leadership, executives, and even employees.
As it still remains uncertain as to who the next CEO of Uber will be, the board expects to make a decision before Labor Day. The position is now highly likely to be filled by a white male, possibly one that hails from one of the most old-school of American industries.
The board at Uber has narrowed down the list of potential CEOs to three. Outgoing GE chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt is among the top candidates, people familiar with the search said. The names of the other two still remain unknown.
Another major threat to the post is Travis Kalanick himself. Kalanick is still a part of Uber’s board with a large number of controlling shares despite stepping down as CEO. A new chief executive would have to contend with his complicated influence and dominating nature.
Whoever is appointed as Uber’s next CEO will have his—or her—hands full from day one. The task will be daunting, but if the new CEO manages to get the company out of its slump, they will increase their value exponentially.