Travis Kalanick has stepped down as CEO of Uber. The news comes as the company has been hit with an extended barrage of scandal and controversy; Kalanick had already recently taken a leave of absence following the death of his mother.
According to The New York Times, a group of major Uber investors demanded Kalanick’s immediate resignation earlier Tuesday. Kalanick acquiesced after “hours of discussions,” but will reportedly stay on Uber’s board and still controls a majority of voting shares.
“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 statement to the Times.
“Travis has always put Uber first,” the company’s board said in a statement. “This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber. 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.”
Uber’s troubles this year have included widespread allegations of sexual harassment, a video showing Kalanick engaging in a belligerent argument with a driver, a major lawsuit claiming intellectual property theft from Google’s Waymo self-driving car unit, an executive obtaining the medical records of a woman who was raped by a driver in India, and more. The company recently fired more than 20 employees as a result of a probe into its work culture.
Kalanick co-founded Uber in 2009 and has become synonymous with the company; Uber’s brash, aggressive business practices are seen as reflecting his combative mentality. That’s been a double-edged sword for Uber, which has quickly grown into a transportation giant but seems incapable of stopping itself from careening into controversy. With Kalanick gone, the question is how willing his replacement will be to overhaul the company’s culture and strategy.