In the midst of a number of controversies and a new business model, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has officially resigned. But those who work for the amateur taxi service has protested, and want him back in the driver’s seat.
It has been a contentious time for Uber and for Kalanick himself. Earlier this year a sexual harassment lawsuit was opened by one of the companies employees. That sparked a flood of other complaints that exposed a culture of lacking professionalism, harassment to female employees, and other forms of discrimination that led to major backlash against the driving service.
Kalanick personally opened an investigation into the matter, but the buck didn’t stop there. A federal inquiry into a software allegedly used to circumvent police was opened against the company, followed by a copyright lawsuit from a silicone valley self-driving car company named Waymo, an affiliated company of e-giant Google.
On top of all this a video was released showing Kalanick screaming at one of his service’s drivers over a far dispute. This was the nail in the coffin for many, who had become disillusioned by the co-founder. This week several shareholders, including the largest shareholder Benchmark, demanded he resign and make way for some new blood.
Kalanick agreed, stating that he is wanting what is best for Uber. He is planning on taking time to get past the death last month of his mother, after she died in a tragic accident involving a boat. He will remain on the board of directors, but give up the position leading the company.
The Uber Employee Protests
Employees have surprisingly not taken this news well. A Google Doc began to circulate this week that asked for him to be reinstated. At the time of this writing more than 1,000 people have signed, which is 10% of the estimated workforce directly related to the company.
Mood Rowghani of Kleiner a venture capital firm that financially backed Uber, also said he and his firm would like to see Kalanick retain a position at the company. It is not known if this will happen, or if the shareholders will stick to their guns and insist he remain out of operations.
Whatever the case, this does show a change in direction for Uber. Already they are starting to change policies, such as allowing driver’s to be given tips for each ride. Hopefully the culture changes, as well.