A week after apologizing for lashing out at an Uber driver who criticized his policies, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is following through on a post-controversy pledge: to get help leading his company.
On Tuesday, the 40-year-old told employees he was looking for “a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey.” This appointment could be a game-changer for the company and its reported “frat boy” corporate culture, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.
“I think it would send a strong signal to investors as well as to the public as well if they brought in a woman as this number two spot,” The Verge transportation reporter Andrew Hawkins said.
Whoever takes the job has a tough road ahead. In the past month, the company faced the resignations of two top executives, a lawsuit from a rival company and allegations of sexism and sexual harassment by former employees. That’s the claim that prompted early investors Mitch and Freada Kapor to take an unusual step. They wrote an open letter to the board, blasting Uber for its “toxic” and “destructive” culture.
“It was a real shock to see an investor call out a company so publicly like that, especially in Silicon Valley where that’s really not been known to happen at all,” Hawkins said.
The couple doubled-down Tuesday, telling Vanity Fair that Uber is at a “tipping point.” Mitch Kapor called out other investors for not speaking out, calling them “doofuses” who “only deal with these kinds of issues when things blow up.”