Uber weighs leave of absence for CEO

Jun 12, 2017, 14:31

In addition, a representative for Uber's board said the directors "unanimously voted" to adopt all of the recommendations made in a report by the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., who was retained to investigate the company's culture.

The review was launched in February after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing what she described as sexual harassment and the lack of a suitable response by senior managers.

The seven-member voting body, which includes Kalanick himself, will be going over the report prepared by Holder's law firm Covington & Burling addressing what has been characterized as a "toxic" corporate culture at Uber, and one source familiar with the report's findings tells Recode, "It's ugly".

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters and The New York Times separately reported that Chief Executive Travis Kalanick may also temporarily leave the company as a result of the meeting on Sunday and Holder's report.

Uber, which is now valued at an estimated $69.8 billion, is feeling backlash as investors' confidence in the company has become shaken by the months of scandals.

A leave of absence for Kalanick is one of the topics up for discussion during a board meeting Sunday, according to Reuters. This news comes on the heels of the firing of Eric Alexander, Uber's President of Business in Asia, following yet another episode of misconduct within the company's ranks, this time regarding illegally obtained medical records of a New Dehli, India woman who was raped by an Uber driver.

The SVP of engineering, Amit Singhal, left Uber after it emerged he had not disclosed he had left Google a year earlier amid allegations of sexual harassment.

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Uber has been plagued by more than sexual harassment complaints in recent months.

Uber is expected to release at least some - an executive summary, perhaps - of the report publicly, though it remains possible that the entire report could be put online.

The memo, unofficially known as the "Miami letter", was sent to around 400 staff before a company trip to Florida in 2013, in an email with the subject line "URGENT, URGENT - READ THIS NOW OR ELSE!"

Uber confirmed to the BBC that Alexander no longer worked at the firm - but offered no further comment.

Holder's recommendations included imposing new controls on company spending, human resources and other areas where executives had wide discretion. In part, the move was done because some executives at Uber were reportedly skeptical about the assault and believed it was orchestrated by Ola, a local competitor.

Kalanick is also facing a personal trauma: Last month his mother died in a boating accident, which also badly injured his father.

That firm checked into 215 complaints, with 57 still under investigation.

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