Uber ex-CEO ru­mor de­nied

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Alexa D’An­gelo alexa.d’an­gelo @latimes.com

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.

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