Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick Is Out – But Will That Be Enough To Stop Us Deleting Uber?

Hope the door hits you on the way out

Uber’s CEO Is Out For Good

by Lucy Morris |
Published on

With Apple’s slumping sales and news of the current tech boom on the brink of imploding, Uber is doing its darndest to not become a cautionary tale. Haunted by bad press, allegations of sexual harassment and calls for a boycott, it’s fall from grace has been swift and well documented. At the very heart of the taxi service ‘s toxic culture sat the living breathing PR disaster zone, the CEO Travis Kalanick.

When Kalanick wasn’t instructing the company to treat full-time drivers as self-employed (meaning they wouldn’t receive holiday or sickness pay, medical cover in the US or maternity leave) or turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, he was embodying the alpha attitudes that prevail in Silicon Valley. Even though the start-up inspires investment (supposedly $12billion, or £9.4billon, in 15 rounds), its losses are extensive as the company is subsiding the cost of each trip to out-price the competition. Uber is not the tech unicorn it dreams of being.

With the shareholders knocking at the promised profit door, they have attempted to turn over a new leaf. It was announced today that

Travis Kalanick, the man in Uber’s high castle, who was already given an indefinite leave of absence was pushed to resign. Though he’ll remain on the board, he’s living, breathing proof that nobody is untouchable. It’s a heartwarming story that eventually poor management skills and decision making can’t last forever, especially not when shareholders are still waiting to hear the kerching of profits.

He reportedly professed, ‘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’.

But, is this too little too late? When Uber turned on surge prices during the protest at US airports over Trump’s immigration ban while other taxi services went on strike, many called for an #Uberboycott. When the mishandling of sexual harassment by the app’s HR team was uncovered when Susan Fowler blew the whistle on them, the board was put under pressure. When Kalanick was caught on videotape arguing with an Uber driver over how the recent drop in the price of fair’s had unfairly penalised the drivers, many said it was disgusting. Travis’ subsequent apology was handled with scepticism. As courts of law ruled that drivers should be treated as employees and therefore receive benefits, Uber ignored and carried on as business as usual. While the ex-CEO was at the centre of a lot of the drama that has besieged the business, do the problems not run deeper than his diktat? With convenience and cost one one side of the scales and human decency on the other, what will it take for people to delete Uber?

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Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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