Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Takes Leave After Eric Holder Report

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (Money Sharma / AFP / Getty)
Money Sharma / AFP / Getty

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was forced to take a leave of absence, the company announced Tuesday, after a 47-point report by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder was unanimously adopted by Uber board members.

The report recommended that Kalanick take a leave of absence, and that he adopt a diminished role if he returns.

It appears that the Board required Travis Kalanick to take a leave of absence, but it is unclear when or if he will ever come back, and in what role. Big companies do change CEOs from time to time, but Zero Hedge comments that Uber Technologies has also voluntarily or involuntarily also lost its Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Business Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Engineering in the last 60 days.

Kalanick told staff as he left: “If we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve… During the interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company.”

Holder’s Law Firm, Covington & Burling LLP, patterned the Uber cultural restructure around the National Football League’s affirmative action hiring policy, referred to as the “Rooney Rule.”

The Rooney Rule was first formulated by the former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and former chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee Dan Rooney, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. It entails strict monitoring of the number and percentages of women and underrepresented populations in NFL jobs, plus the requirement that a woman and a member of any underrepresented population be added to all final job interviews.

Breitbart News reported in March 2015 that Jessie Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition were pushing for Silicon Valley to adopt racial and gender quotas. Since the campaign began, Facebook, Pinterest, Xerox, and Amazon have adopted the Rooney Rule.

According to Uber’s March 28 diversity report, about 36 percent of Uber’s staff is composed of women, but only 15.4 percent are in tech positions. Uber’s racial mix is 49.8 percent white, 30.9 percent Asian, 8.8 percent black and 5.6 percent Hispanic. But in low-level service jobs, 37.3 percent are white, 33.5 percent black, and 15.2 percent Hispanic.

Uber released a 13-page abstract of Eric Holder’s final report to its 14,000 employees and the press. The report was meant to respond to former Uber computer science engineer Susan Fowler’s devastating February blog post, titled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber.” Ms. Fowler complained of wide-ranging sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation for reporting misdeeds.

The Covington & Burling full report, which supposedly discusses actions and inactions by individual executives, is being withheld by Uber’s Board of Directors.

Uber faced 70 lawsuits last year, with suits brought by drivers, passengers, and other plaintiffs, according to the San Jose Mercury News.


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