Amidst a tough time for Uber, CEO Travis Kalanick’s parents were in a tragic boating accident last month that took the life of his mother. Now to grieve and clear his head before enacting changes at Uber, Travis has told his team he’ll be taking a leave of absence of unspecified length. You can read the CEO’s full letter to Uber below.
Kalanick notes that “During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly. It’s hard to put a timeline on this – it may be shorter or longer than we might expect.”
When Kalanick returns he will take a diminished role, according to the slate of recommendations by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in his report on the investigation into Uber’s ethics and leadership troubles, including sexual harassment and discrimination. “Some of the responsibilities that Mr. Kalanick has historically possessed should be shared or given outright to other members of senior management” the report outlines.
Other recommendations that impact Kalanick include:
- Using performance review to hold leaders accountable with metrics tied to diversity, responsiveness to employee complaints, employee satisfaction, and compliance that impact management compensation
- Adding independent board seats, an independent board chairperson, an oversight committee, and an enhanced audit comittee to oversee Kalanick and Uber management
- Requiring mandatory inclusive leadership training for Kalanick and other senior management
- Increasing Kalanick and management’s public support for the human resources team and its new values
Uber must now start down the long road of fixing its culture without its CEO.
Below is the letter Kalanick sent to Uber employees:
For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber. Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.
The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.
During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly.
It’s hard to put a timeline on this – it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes. The incredible outpouring of heartfelt notes and condolences from all of you have kept me strong but almost universally they have ended with ‘How can I help?’. My answer is simple. Do your life’s work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. Put people first, that is my mom’s legacy. And make Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work all of you do, and the inspiring people that make Uber great.
See you soon,