“Uber has been a part of my life for the past 10 years,” Kalanick said in a statement. “At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits.”
Uber went public in May but sputtered out of the gate. Optimistic projections in the weeks before its listing estimated that it was a $ 100 billion company, but it lost a third of its value since going public and now has a market cap hovering around $ 50 billion. Kalanick has been winding down his shares of the company. In the past few weeks, Kalanick sold more than $ 2.5 billion worth of Uber stock — exceeding 90 percent of his stake. Kalanick didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Kalanick’s departure from the board, which he once controlled with handpicked allies, marks an official close to a period in which the company became a global force under his wing. He hobbled the taxi industry with aggressive expansion tactics and changed the way people got around. Amid its rise, Uber was scrutinized for dodging regulators and disregarding the effects its arrival could have on cities, adding congestion and shielding important data from city officials. But Uber came under fire for thousands of sexual assaults that occurred during rides and for its reliance on an army of contractors who lacked worker protections and wage guarantees.
Inside Uber, Kalanick was seen as a revolutionary leader who inspired his workers. But as the company sought to mature in the years before going public, his antics became an increasing liability. Uber came under scrutiny for “Greyball,” a program meant to evade regulators in cities where it did not have permission to operate.
Kalanick was accused of fostering a “bro culture” at the company that led it to hire former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. to conduct a study on Uber’s workplace culture and issue recommendations to reform it.
Kalanick’s problems at the company multiplied during a tumultuous period in 2017, when Uber was accused of disrupting a taxi strike in protest of President Trump’s travel ban. The hashtag #DeleteUber began trending.
The same year, then-employee Susan Fowler penned a viral blog post alleging a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. Uber settled charges of alleged gender discrimination by creating a $ 4.4 million victims fund and agreeing to have its workplace independently monitored for three years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced this month.
Kalanick also was filmed berating a driver who had asked about dwindling pay, and he later issued a public apology.
“I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” he said at the time.
He ultimately was forced to step aside, and the replacement was Dara Khosrowshahi, the former Expedia CEO who was seen as a safe choice to lead the struggling company and steer its initial public offering.
Kalanick did not have a day-to-day role at Uber, and management had not engaged him in an advisory or consulting role that might be expected for a former CEO who remained on the board, said a person familiar with the circumstances who was not free to discuss it publicly.
Investors will be glad to see Kalanick and Uber part ways, Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities wrote in an analyst note, especially given the company’s financial tumble since the IPO in May.
“With ripping the band-aid off and Travis leaving stage left on the Board, we believe now its about [Khosrowshahi] & Co. taking Uber in the right direction for 2020 and beyond after a rough road so far,” Ives wrote.
In March 2018, Kalanick announced the creation of an investment fund dubbed 10100 that would be “home to my passions, investments, ideas and big-bets.” At the time, Kalanick said the investments would focus on large-scale job creation and that the portfolio would encompass real estate, e-commerce and emerging technologies in China and India. He said he would also work on nonprofit projects related to education and the future of cities.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kalanick was getting into real estate and food. Through CloudKitchens, Kalanick aims to build commissary kitchens that can be used by food-delivery businesses. The idea is for restaurants to rent kitchen space in industrial buildings to make it cheaper for them to get food out to customers via Uber drivers and other delivery services.
\Uber said co-founder Travis Kalanick will resign from the company’s board of directors at the end of this year, marking a final exit for the tech entrepreneur who helped launch the ride-booking start-up 10 years ago and grew it into a controversial Silicon Valley giant.
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