After strong pressure from investors, Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick has officially resigned his position at the head of the company.
The move follows a grueling six-month journey for Uber marked by scandal after scandal and high profile exits from the firm. Kalanick’s resignation reportedly came at the behest of investors as the firm attempts to rehabilitate its image and clean up the “bro culture” that its name has basically become synonymous with. Said investors wrote a letter to Kalanick explicitly stating they did not believe he would be able to make the types of changes recommended by former Attorney General Eric Holder following his investigation of Uber’s workplace culture.
“I love Uber more than anything in the world, and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Mr. Kalanick said in a statement Tuesday.
Signatories to the letter included Benchmark (partner Bill Gurley is a member of Uber’s board); Menlo Ventures; Lowercase Capital; First Round Capital; and Fidelity Investments, according to people familiar with the matter. Kalanick resigned within hour of receiving the letter. He had been on indefinite leave since last week, reportedly grieving the sudden death of his mother in a boating accident.
Control of Uber’s operations, for the time being, has been turned over to a group of 14 executives. Mr. Kalanick will likely remain a part of the firm as he he will keep his board seat and, along with co-founder Garrett Camp and early employee Ryan Graves, holds a majority of Uber’s voting rights.
Kalanick’s replacement will have difficulties to deal with beyond reputation, however. Uber lost at least $2.8 billion last year and another $708 million in this year’s first quarter.
Uber also has a lawsuit with Google to deal with over stolen self-driving car technology, a federal probe into whether or not the firm has evaded regulators, tens of millions of dollars it withheld from New York and Philadelphia and, of course, its reportedly toxically sexist culture.
In the results of his nearly four-month investigation, Holder indicated that Uber’s corporate culture reinforces exclusionary and other poor behavior. Uber’s 14 cultural values, for instance, include mandates such as “always be hustlin’” and “toe stepping.”