When launched in 2009 by Travis Kalanick, Uber, the taxi hailing app was indeed a revolution. Indeed over the past years, that’s exactly what it started. With everything in life, there’s a good and a bad. With Uber, the bad seems to be overtaking the good. Sure, the app and service allows us to travel in comfort to our destination and the rates aren’t super expensive but lately, there have been reports of harassment towards both Uber drivers and passengers. the company itself has been hit with a plethora of scandal and controversy.
Today possibly marks the final nail on the coffin as Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber gave in his resignation. Kalanick had already taken a leave of absence after his parents were involved in a boating accident which led to the death of his mother and his father being in a critical condition in hospital. He was already facing a virtual firing squadron because of the allegations of sexual harassment from the company.
Why did Travis Kalanick resign from Uber?
The resignation of Travis Kalanick comes as a response to a demand made by a group of Uber’s major investors, one of them being Benchmark, a venture capital firm. According to a letter written by the Investors and addressed to Kalanick, they request his immediate resignation and that the company requires a change in leadership. Kalanick will remain on Uber’s Board of Directors and will also control a majority of the voting shares.
Uber’s ride to fame has been marred and tarnished greatly by the sheer number of scandals that took place.This lead to the dismissal of more than 20 employees as a review conducted by former US Attorney General Eric Holder along with his colleague Tammy Albarrán brought out more than 200 reports of harassment, bias, bullying, discrimination and even retaliation.
In addition, a former engineer by the name of Susan Fowler also published a public blog post documenting her work life at Uber where there was an abundance of sexism. She also pointed out that no one was willing to come forward to address this problem and to contain the threat. Adding insult to injury was a video captured that showed Travis Kalanick himself using an Uber Black. In the video, the driver, Fawzi Kamel complains to Kalanick about the drop in fares for their luxury service. Kalanick promptly lost his cool and retorted angrily. At the end Kamel rates Kalanick with a one-star rating.
Uber is certainly in a jam
Uber is certainly losing a lot of revenue and they are also threatened by self driving cars. If you recall, they hired Anthony Levandowski who was formerly at Google to work on their own self-driving car program. Levandowski spearheaded the self-driving car program at Google before it became a standalone business called Waymo. In early 2017, Waymo filed a lawsuit against Levandowski claiming that the latter store close to 14,000 documents which then became the backbone for Uber’s self driving cars.
With Uber dismissing several high ranking officials or them resigning themselves, they find themselves in quite a pickle as there is a lack of prospective individuals who are ready to take up the mantle to bring about a change in the company’s work policy and ethics. Uber currently has open positions for Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President of Engineering, and Chief Diversity Officer. Any one of these positions are a daunting pair of shoes to fill.
This essentially means that the entire hierarchy of the company is non existent, casting a cloud of uncertainty towards the future of the taxi hailing giant. In short, not only would they need a miracle, but also they will have to look for a protector, a guardian, a CEO whom they need.