- Travis Kalanick, Uber Technologies Inc.'s chief executive, is taking a leave of absence, reports the Wall Street Journal. The announcement follows months of handling sexual harassment and other misconduct allegations at the company.
- Kalanick said his direct reports will run the company in his absence, but that he will be on hand to respond to matters requiring strategic decision-making. He also said that he's empowering them to move boldly, decisively and quickly to get the company on a positive track, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Kalanick didn't say how long his absence would be, but it's currently reported as 'indefinitely'.
Allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct have dogged Uber for months. More recently, the company fired 20 people involved in the scandal. As the chief executive, Kalanick must be the change agent for his company — and be held accountable when policies don't change.
Former attorney general Eric Holder reportedly recommended major changes to Uber's culture. Last year, Kalanick hired a team of executives, which included Holder, to assess the culture and recommend vital policy reforms. But change is hard, and biases are often deep. Just this week, an Uber board member resigned for making an inappropriate, sexist joke at a board meeting about the sexual harassment issue.
Internal harassment isn't the only issue the company has been facing. It's been struggling with the very base of its business operations: drivers who claim they are employees, not contractors. Many have been watching the company to see how it fares in the courts on classification. Clarity hasn't been reached yet, however.