In follow up to my June 19, 2017 post regarding the trials and tribulations of the workplace culture (among other issues) at Uber, it now appears that the previously announced leave of absence of CEO Travis Kalanick is permanent.  Kalanick, amid significant pressures from investors, has tendered his resignation.   The embattled executive, still a major shareholder, will remain on the board of directors.

Kalanick, at the young age of 40, founded and led Uber to be the game-changing giant of the personal transportation industry that it is. The resignation  follows months of questions over the leadership of Uber, which has been referred to as “a prime example of Silicon Valley start-up culture gone awry.”[1] As discussed in my prior post, the company has faced significant criticism of its workplace culture, which was found by investigators to have included sexual harassment and discrimination.  In addition, Uber has faced a lawsuit over intellectual property involving self-driving cars and a federal investigation and it has pushed the legal envelope in dealing with law enforcement.  The much-criticized tone was set by Kalanick, who has also been applauded for his aggressive empire-building which has made the business such a success that many have tried to copy it.  The removal of Kalanick is a bit of a departure from the typical scenario in which a founder who is credited for creating a dominant business model is cut significant slack for behavioral issues as long as the company remains a financial success.  In this case, even after firing more than twenty employees following the Holder investigation, the Uber board has clearly set its sights on “the tone at the top” in removing the CEO.

[1] Isaac, Uber Founder Travis Kalanick Resigns as C.E.O., New York Times, June 21, 2017.