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Can Bill Gurley Reign In A Rowdy Uber?

Bill Gurley

Though considered a rare figure, Bill Gurley, who heads a venture capital firm that has a 20 percent stake in Uber, may be just what the company needs as it faces a mounting number of difficulties and a tarnished image.

From sexual harassment and discrimination claims to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick joining — and then quickly leaving — Donald Trump’s economic advisory council, the company has had no shortage of backlash in recent months.

Uber is taking a hit from all the bad news it has faced specifically in the last few weeks, which has resulted in workers looking at other options in addition to working for the startup, which was once a coveted place of employment.

“I have seen quite a few people who have been looking to leave Uber,” said one recruiter in a report from The Financial Times. “One of the main reasons is lack of faith in senior leadership.” According to the unnamed recruiter, the number of resumes he has received from Uber employees increased last week after two ex-Uber workers posted complaints about sexual harassment and sexism on social media. The recruiter said he has gotten more resumes from Uber workers in one week than in all of February.

But according to a report from The New York Times, Gurley has recently become deeply involved in an effort to help Uber resolve its many controversies and continue to expand the business. He is also reportedly helping the company find a new chief operating officer.

People close to both Gurley and Kalanick say that the two speak often and that Gurley remains a trusted advisor for the sometimes controversial CEO.

When Gurley’s venture capital firm Benchmark bought into Uber six years ago with a $12 million investment, the ride-hailing startup was worth $60 million. Today, Uber is valued at nearly $70 billion, making it one of the most lucrative investments Gurley has made.

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