Travis Kalanick steps down as Uber CEO after investors demand his resignation
Uber has faced one controversy after another this yearBy Rob Thubron
In 2009, Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber, the ride-hailing company that would eventually reach 570 cities across the world and is now worth close to $70 billion. But after six months that have seen the firm hit with one scandal after another, Kalanick has now stepped down as CEO.
The New York Times reports that five of Uber's major investors - First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, Fidelity Investments, and Benchmark - sent a letter to Kalanick on Tuesday, titled "Moving Uber Forward," which demanded his resignation.
Kalanick accepted after "hours of discussions," but he will reportedly remain on Uber's board and continue to control a majority of voting shares as the company searches for a new CEO.
"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 suffered personal tragedy in May when his mother died and his father was seriously injured in a boating accident. Last week, in the wake of an investigation into company culture (a response to sexual harassment allegations), Kalanick announced he was taking a leave of absence.
Kalanick's resignation follows months of controversy for Uber. It has had to deal with sexism claims and the fallout from the resulting investigations, Greyball, the Hell software, a lawsuit over alleged self-driving technology theft, the medical records scandal, and Kalanick's argument with a driver and visit to a South Korean escort-karaoke bar with other Uber executives.
Uber has confirmed the resignation in a statement. It said Kalanick had "always put Uber first" and that his resignation as CEO would give the company "room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber's history."