Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Just Resigned
Kalanick's resignation comes amid allegations of a hostile workplace culture at Uber and a heated intellectual property lawsuit from Waymo, Google's self-driving car company.
Uber's Travis Kalanick has resigned as chief executive, the company confirmed late Tuesday.
Kalanick has faced months of scrutiny following an employee's allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination that led to an internal investigation into workplace culture at the company, as well as the termination of 20 executives.
Last week, Kalanick, who recently suffered a personal tragedy when his mother died in a boating accident, announced he would be taking a leave of absence from his role as CEO of Uber.
But Tuesday, Kalanick said he would be resigning as CEO, heeding a letter from top investors demanding an immediate change in leadership, according to the New York Times.
In a statement, Uber's board said Kalanick would retain his seat. "This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber," the statement said. "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. We look forward to continuing to serve with him on the board."
The decision comes as Uber struggles to move past a series of damaging scandals and persistent questions about the company's leadership and workplace culture. Earlier this year, a former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, published a viral blog post about her experience at the company, including details of sexual harassment and discrimination. Other employees echoed her concern, prompting both an internal investigation into Uber's company culture and an outside probe led former attorney general Eric Holder into how the startup could improve life for its employees.
But as of last week some employees who spoke with BuzzFeed News felt the focus on culture shift came too late, and they weren't optimistic about the potential for change at the company.
In an email sent to employees Tuesday night and obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kalanick wrote that he loves "Uber more than anything in the world."
"At this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted a group of investors' request to step aside, so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight," the email reads. "I will continue to serve on the board, and will be available in any and all ways to help Uber become everything we've dreamed it would be."
In addition to internal issues, Uber has faced external charges this year. The startup is currently being sued by rival Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, for allegedly stealing its self-driving technology. Former Uber employee Anthony Levandowski, who previously worked on autonomous driving technology at Waymo, has hired both civil and criminal defense lawyers to defend against allegations that he wrongfully downloaded more than 14,000 documents from his former employer. Levandowski is not named as a defendant in the suit.
Meanwhile, Uber is also the subject of a federal probe over its use of software geofencing to avoid regulatory oversight, and recently agreed to pay back New York City drivers millions of dollars it owed due to a mistake it made in calculating state taxes.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.