Coverage: The Uber news just doesn’t stop
Ride-sharing service Uber Technologies Inc. can’t keep itself out of the business news media, with weekend stories focusing on an executive departure and the CEO’s future.
Eric Newcomer of Bloomberg News had the news:
Uber Technologies Inc.’s board is expected to meet Sunday to discuss whether to part ways with top business executive Emil Michael, a chief confidant of Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Kalanick is also expected to weigh taking a three-month leave of absence, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the matter. In addition to responding to a cavalcade of scandals, Kalanick has had to grapple with the accidental death of his mother, whose funeral was Friday. An Uber spokesman declined to comment.
Michael has been embroiled in some of the company’s biggest controversies. Most recently Uber parted ways with Eric Alexander, another top executive, following questions about whether he improperly obtained a woman’s medical report following her alleged rape by an Uber driver. Michael knew that Alexander had the report and expressed skepticism to some people about whether she had been raped, Bloomberg has reported.
Uber may be run by a management committee, though a single internal executive could also be selected. Top candidates for a management committee include operational leads Rachel Holt, Andrew Macdonald, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, along with product chief Daniel Graf, and potentially human resources head Liane Hornsey, the people said.
Joseph Menn and Heather Somerville of Reuters reported on the board’s potential moves:
Uber Technologies Inc’s board will discuss Chief Executive Travis Kalanick temporarily stepping away from the embattled ride-hailing firm and consider sweeping changes to the company’s management practices at a meeting on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person briefed on the matter said the board will discuss Kalanick taking time off from the company. The discussion involved the possibility that Kalanick might return in a role with less authority, this person said, either in a position other than CEO or as CEO with narrower responsibilities and subject to stronger oversight.
The source said it is not clear that the board will make any decision to change Kalanick’s role. The board is expected to adopt a number of internal policy and management changes recommended by outside attorneys hired to investigate sexual harassment and the firm’s broader culture. The outside lawyers made no recommendation about Kalanick.
An Uber spokesman had no comment. Kalanick did not immediately respond to requests for comment late on Saturday.
The meeting, which Uber has not publicized, could be a pivotal moment for the world’s most valuable venture-backed private company, which has upended the tightly regulated taxi industry in many countries but has run into legal trouble with a rough-and-tumble approach to local regulations and the way it handles employees and drivers.
Lauren Coleman-Lochner of the Boston Globe focused on Kalanick’s potential leave of absence:
Allegations by current and former employees that Uber’s workplace is rife with sexual harassment and sexism led the company to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate and produce a report. The San Francisco-based company is also facing scrutiny over the use of software meant to deceive government officials and for hiring an engineer who took confidential files when he moved from Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo driverless-car project.
Uber has already taken steps to address concerns over harassment. It fired more than 20 people after investigating claims and is still looking at 57 other human-resources claims, Bloomberg reported last week.
Kalanick, 40, has been spending time with his father in the Los Angeles area, where the board will meet, the Journal reported. His father was injured last month in a boating accident that killed his mother.