Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has stepped down from the company he founded.
He resigned after Uber’s major investors demanded that he step down. These investors included venture capital firm Benchmark, one of Uber’s largest shareholders.
The investors wrote a letter, titled “Moving Uber Forward’, which said that the company needed a change in leadership. Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board of directors.
“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 had been on a temporary leave of absence following Uber’s board of directors' vote to adopt all recommendations from a report made by former US Attorney General Eric Holder on the company’s culture.
Uber hired Holder and his firm in February to investigate the company’s practices after an engineer, Susan Fowler, published a blog post about how she dealt with sexual harassment and how nothing was done about it.
Uber has been under scrutiny for its lack of action against those who complained of sexual harassment. Susan Fowler wrote about how her complaints had been ignored by her superiors, following which the company set up a hotline for complaints. The firm has received 215 complaints, and has 57 under investigation by law firm Perkins Cole.
The ride-sharing company launched in June 2010, went international in 2011. It came to India in August 2013. Since then, the company has been embroiled in a number of scandals. Here are some of the highlights:
In October 2014, Uber’s office in Lyon, France, was criticised for promising to match passengers with attractive women as drivers.
In February 2017, a video showing Kalanick berating an Uber driver went public. Hours after the video, Kalanick posted that he will be ‘seeking leadership help’ and that he ‘needs to grow up’.
After Susan Fowler’s post, Kalanick met 100 of the company’s female engineers who said that gender discrimination is a systemic problem at Uber.
In the same month, the company’s SVP of engineering was fired because he did not disclose allegations of sexual harassment that had been levelled against him during his previous job at Google.
In June 2017, Eric Alexander was fired for sharing the medical records of the Uber passenger who was raped by her driver in India.