CEO Travis Kalanick is also taking a leave of absence
It’s been another whirlwind week for Uber, as the company transitions into a new era without CEO Travis Kalanick.
The news of Kalanick’s official departure as CEO, which was announced Wednesday morning, comes after he penned a letter to staff last week that he would be taking a leave of absence to cope with the death of his mother, Bonnie Kalanick. The same day as Kalanick’s letter, Uber board member David Bonderman announced his resignation after coming under fire for a sexist joke he made during the all-hands meeting to go over the results of an internal investigation surrounding sexual harassment and discrimination. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder led the investigation, which was prompted by allegations former Uber engineer Susan Fowler first published online in February.
Now, without a CEO, Uber’s path forward is unclear. That uncertainty is heightened by the number of top-level positions that have opened up following numerous high-profile departures from the company. As of this writing, here are all the empty executive jobs at the company right now.
Chief Executive Officer
Five major Uber investors—like the venture capital firm Benchmark, for example— pressured Kalanick to step down in a letter titled “Moving Uber Forward,” according to the New York Times. Currently, it is unknown who will take Kalanick’s place as CEO. However, according to the letter, the five shareholders demand that Kalanick support a board-led search committee to find a new chief executive. Additionally, they demand that Uber promptly hire an experienced chief financial officer, the Times reports.
“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement to the Times.
Kalanick is slated to remain on Uber’s board of directors, according to the Times.
Chief Financial Officer
Uber has technically been without a CFO since Brent Callinicos left in 2015, but the company is especially reeling after its top finance executive, Gautam Gupta, left his role as head of finance to join a startup. His departure followed Uber’s $708 million loss in the first quarter and speculation over whether the company intended to go public in 2017. With lead financial roles open, an IPO seems less likely.
Chief Operating Officer and President of Ride-Sharing
Uber has never had a COO, with Kalanick himself handling most top-level decisions. But in March, less than a month after Fowler first published her harassment claims online, Kalanick announced his intentions to bring on a right-hand executive to help steer the ship amid allegations of gender bias and sexual harassment at the company. Kalanick told his staff that he was looking for a “peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey.”
Uber’s President of Ride-Sharing, Jeff Jones, assumed this role for a short six months, after which point he determined Uber was too damaged to repair and resigned as well. According to a report from Bloomberg, Jones often clashed with Kalanick over the company’s “beliefs and approach to leadership” and reportedly—while not the primary factor behind his departure—did not like the idea of a COO outranking him.
“After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber,” Kalanick said in a statement at the time.
Senior Vice President of Engineering
Eight days after Fowler published her account of her time at Uber, Kalanick asked SVP of Engineering Amit Singhal to resign after learning he left his job at Google amid sexual harassment allegations. Singhal had only been in the role for a month.
“Harassment is unacceptable in any setting. I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior,” Singhal told Recode at the time. “In my 20-year career, I’ve never been accused of anything like this before and the decision to leave Google was my own.”
The company is in need of a top lawyer remains after Sally Yoo, who previously filled the role, was promoted to chief legal officer in a bid to “help drive critical company initiatives like equal pay, increasing diversity in our business, and building a strong cultural foundation for the future of Uber,” Kalanick said in a staff email last month, according to Recode. That means day-to-day legal operations will fall on the shoulders of the new General Counsel, who the company plans to hire externally, the report said.
The search for Yoo’s replacement may have already begun now that the U.S. Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into Uber’s software practices and Google’s parent company Alphabet has filed a lawsuit over allegedly stolen self-driving car technology.
Yoo will act as counsel until her replacement is found.