Uber ex-CEO rumor denied
Co-founder dismisses speculation that Travis Kalanick will return to lead the company.
Rumors have been circulating that Uber’s former chief executive, Travis Kalanick, is angling for a return to the helm of the ridehailing company.
Now, it seems, Uber cofounder and board member Garrett Camp wants to lay those rumors to rest.
“Our CEO search is the board’s top priority,” Camp wrote to staffers Monday in an email obtained by Recode. “It’s time for a new chapter and the right leader for our next phase of growth. Despite rumors I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, Travis is not returning as CEO. We are committed to hiring a new world class CEO to lead Uber.”
Recode reported last week that Kalanick, who is still on Uber’s board, was telling people he was “Steve Jobs-ing it” — a reference to the Apple co-founder who was ousted but later made a triumphant return.
Uber declined to comment Tuesday on the hiring process or the report about Camp’s email.
Kalanick resigned as CEO in June after a spate of scandals, and it’s not yet clear who will fill his shoes.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman was floated as a candidate, but she said in July that she would not take the job.
Uber board members have whittled the list to three candidates — all men, according to a Washington Post report that said the board was expected to decide before Labor Day.
Uber is used to controversy, having sparred with regulators, fought lawsuits from drivers and been accused by competitors of playing dirty. Kalanick, who co-founded Uber with Camp, was credited for its success and was long seen as untouchable. But the string of scandals this year proved too much even for him.
Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in February accusing the company of systemic sexual harassment and coverups. Video emerged showing Kalanick berating a driver. A former executive was accused of violating a passenger’s privacy by mishandling her medical records. The company was sued by Google’s self-driving vehicle arm, which accused Uber of stealing trade secrets. An independent investigation into the company’s culture commissioned by Uber’s board resulted in 20 terminations and the recommendation that the company take some responsibilities from Kalanick.
Kalanick resigned under pressure from investors, who believed Uber would not be able to turn over a new leaf with him at the helm. A team of executives who once reported directly to Kalanick are now running the company while it searches for a new chief executive.