Changes at Uber Include CEO's Resignation, Driver Tips, and Higher Fares for Obnoxious Teens
Uber’s founder is stepping away from the company — not for the summer, as originally planned, but for good. CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned after a relentless string of controversies caused the company to lose face for all of 2017 thus far.
On Tuesday, five of Uber’s largest investors demanded that the chief executive resign. This was followed by Kalanick’s official confirmation and a posting from the company’s head of U.S. operations outlining a 180 day strategy to turn things around. While the plan made no mention of Travis’ departure, the resignation certainly seems to jibe with its objectives.
Other more official aspects of Uber’s cleverly named “180” include trials for driver tipping in several major cities and a surcharge for teenagers because everyone hates them. The ride-hailing firm is also adding Driver Injury Protection Insurance and a way to bill passengers for making them wait. None of these changes appear to be all-inclusive, however. Uber has also made it fairly vague as to when and where some of these changes will occur.
Less uncertain is Kalanick’s departure. In a letter obtained by The New York Times, investors told the CEO to leave immediately while citing a dire need to change the company’s leadership.
“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,” Kalanick said in a announcement on Tuesday evening.
The board later released its own statement. “This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber,” it explained. “By stepping away, he’s taking the time to heal from his personal tragedy while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history.”
Last week, Kalanick said he would take an indefinite leave of absence from Uber, to develop “Travis 2.0” and to grieve for his mother, who died last month in a boating accident. That plan also mentioned he might someday return in a less public role at the company — which could have been beneficial considering its massive shortage of executives. However, Kalanick has served as the face of controversy and been charged with allowing the development of a toxic corporate culture. There have been rampant allegations of sexual misconduct at Uber, legal issues surrounding IP theft, unseamly programs like Project Greyball, conflict with government regulators, and a general encouragement of a dog-eat-dog mentality among staff.
Kalanick’s resignation leaves questions of who is going to take the helm at Uber, especially since the company is undergoing massive changes to turn its bad press into something positive. “There really is no top brass at Uber,” James Cakmak, an analyst with Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co, wrote in an investor note last week.
Despite all the negative attention, Uber is still valued at nearly $69 billion. Revenue increased to $3.4 billion in the first quarter, while losses narrowed slightly — hinting that it might someday be profitable. Kalanick himself remains a billionaire due to his large stake in the company, with a net worth of roughly $6.7 billion. He also still retains majority control of Uber’s voting shares.
[Image: TechCrunch/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]
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- Lou_BC Tassos and EB can each buy one and go in the backcountry to play with their Willys.
- SCE to AUX Physically removing it from the cars they service tells me the company sees radar as some sort of hazard, despite their ability to disable it across the fleet via OTA updates. Creepy.
- Art Vandelay So if it now actually costs less than the competition, where will the usual haters move the goalposts too now?
- SCE to AUX Change "dog" to "child", and then tell me what mfr's lawyers will permit deployment of an autonomous vehicle.
- Ravenuer I'd go with the Camry.
Bigger news is Uber just allowed tipping and since the drivers rate the riders, if you do not tip enough you will get a bad rating which will be seen by other drivers and they will stop picking you up, this will eventually raise the price of using Uber and probably very bad for Uber in the long run.
As the late Phyllis Schlafly correctly noted: "a virtuous woman can not be sexually harassed". This is a matter of fact, not opinion. Uber is doomed unless they successfully implement the traditional taxi business model of using government to grant them a monopoly.I hope they fail.