The writing has been on the wall for months now, so it should really surprise no one that Uber’s controversial CEO is stepping down. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s completely out of picture, as he still serves on the company’s board. It, however, also doesn’t translate to an immediate recovery for the embattled ride hailing service, whose woes, not to mention lawsuits, will proceed even without Kalanick at the helm.
Uber is a shining example of a company that grew too big too fast. And that growth may have been caused by a toxic working culture and a propensity for active above or around the law. It was really only a matter of time before the cards come falling down, something that the company’s investors are desperately trying to prevent.
Kalanick was on his way out anyway, but definitely like this. The initial plan was to take an indefinite leave of absence, citing the loss of his mother as the reason for the departure. It was, of course, also tied to the fact that he was already under immense pressure to leave. And five of Uber’s biggest investors decided that enough is enough and a simple leave of absence, indefinite as it may be, isn’t enough. Kalanick has to leave.
Those five investors, Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, and Fidelity investments together hold more than a fourth of Uber’s stocks. That translates to having 40% of voting power in the company. So when these five sent a letter demanding Kalanick’s resignation, it was not something the bullish CEO could ignore anymore. After consultation, he decided to step down.
The investors want Uber to be able to move forward under new leadership, but while they did get Kalanick to vacate the position, it doesn’t equate to success. Aside from finding someone suitable, not to mention willing, to risk career suicide, the company’s growth and culture has been inextricably tied to Kalanick’s own personality. Turning such a large ship will take a lot more work than just removing its captain, especially when there is no captain to guide it.
SOURCE: New York Times