Since the start of 2017, Uber has been rocked by a litany of scandals and an exodus of senior executives. Now the ride-sharing giant has lost its CEO and founder, Travis Kalanick.
His resignation was announced on Tuesday and comes after an investor revolt, The New York Times reports. Uber is a private company whose major investors include private equity firm TPG Capital, venture capital firm Benchmark, and major clients of investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Incidentally, one the biggest investors is Saudi Arabia where women aren't actually allowed to drive.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper reports that five major investors, one of them Benchmark, whose partner Bill Gurley is a member of the board at Uber, demanded early Tuesday that the company needed a change of leadership and that Kalanick should step down immediately.
“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement.
Kalanick only a week ago announced he was taking a leave of absence to separate himself from the company while it carried out sweeping reforms. Kalanick is central to at least one scandal in which he was caught berating an Uber driver during a ride. His aggressive style of leadership has also led to some serious internal issues for Uber.
Kalanick is also dealing with the sudden loss of his mother. She died as a result of a boating accident in May. Kalanick’s father was also seriously injured in the accident.
Uber itself is facing several allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace as well as a lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo over allegations of stolen technology and infringement of patents. The company is also bleeding cash. It recorded a $708 million loss in the first quarter of 2017 on revenues of $3.4 billion. That was, however, a better result than the loss of $991 million and revenues of $2.9 billion in the previous quarter.
Uber was founded by Kalanick in 2009, along with Garrett Camp who serves as the company’s chairman. It was Camp's idea and Kalanick gives him full credit. Kalanick was the main advisor at the beginning, as Camp built the company from an idea to the app and into a large company. It's still one of the highest valued private companies in the world with its most recent valuation approaching $70 billion.