Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber, has resigned from his position, a move which, according to The New York Times, was reportedly demanded by a group of Uber's top investors.
Kalanick co-founded the ride-sharing company back in 2009 and has served as its CEO since 2010, guiding the company through massive expansion, as it now has operations in more than 70 countries and provides over a million rides per day. More recently, however, Uber has been embroiled in controversy, which resulted, among other things, in the firing of 20 Uber employees earlier this month.
Last week, Kalanick announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the company. According to Reuters, he told Uber employees that he needed some away-time from the company to grieve his recently deceased mother, who died suddenly in a tragic boating accident, as well as to work on his leadership skills.
Kalanick was expected to return to Uber after his leave of absence. However, according to The New York Times, which cited confidential sources, early on Tuesday five of Uber's major investors reportedly decided that they wanted Kalanick to resign. The Times noted that the investors reportedly sent Kalanick a letter entitled "Moving Uber Forward," which requested his resignation. The paper noted that, after receiving the letter, Kalanick allegedly spoke with an Uber board member as well as had discussions with several investors before eventually agreeing to step down as CEO. However, as reported, Kalanick will still remain on Uber's board of directors.
In discussing his separation from the company, Kalanick said in a statement to the Times:
Uber's board of directors also added in a statement to the paper that Kalanick had "always put Uber first" and that his resignation would allow the ride-sharing company "room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber's history."
The Times also noted that Kalanick's departure did not constitute the only change demanded by Uber's investors. The shareholders reportedly requested "improved oversight of the company’s board" through "filling two of three empty board seats with 'truly independent directors.'" Moreover, they also reportedly want Uber to hire an experienced chief financial officer as well as want Kalanick to support a board-directed search for a new CEO.
Uber will begin the search for its new CEO amidst continued challenges. It will certainly be interesting to see the direction the company takes following Kalanick's resignation, both in terms of the new leadership it will choose and the image it will seek to cultivate.