Uber’s Travis Kalanick may take break from company – CNET

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been under fire for scandals that have plagued the ride-hailing startup.

James Martin/CNET

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may soon be stepping away temporarily from his duties running the beleaguered  ride-hailing startup.

A leave of absence for Kalanick is one of the topics up for discussion during a board meeting Sunday, according to Reuters. The board is also expected to discuss sweeping changes to the company’s management structure in response to an internal sexual harassment probe, the news agency reported, citing an unidentified source familiar with the situation.

Sunday’s meeting could prove to be a pivotal moment for the embattled company, which has used to a smartphone app to upend the taxi industry and become the world’s most valuable startup. But it has also grappled with a slew of scandals and management turmoil over the past couple of months.

On Tuesday, Uber said it fired more than 20 employees as part of an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations. A second internal inquiry is being led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

The investigations were prompted by accusations in February by a former employee that women in the company were sexually harassed by other employees and complaints were dismissed by human resources. The former employee said Uber suffered from a chaotic companywide culture of sexism and unprofessional business practices that had serious work-flow consequences, including the abandonment of projects and altered objectives.

In addition the sexual harassment probes, investors have lambasted the company for have a culture “plagued by disrespect;” a leaked video showed Kalanick berating a driver over fares; Google filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing company claiming it stole self-driving car technology; a New York Times expose uncovered Uber’s secretive Greyball tool meant to thwart authorities; and a long list of top executives have stepped down.

During Sunday’s meeting, Uber’s board is expected to consider internal policy and management changes recommended by Holder’s law firm, Reuters reported. Board member Arianna Huffington said Wednesday the company would soon experience a “restructuring of the management team” but didn’t elaborate.

Uber didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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