Over the past few months, Uber suffered through a series of departures, many of them top executive roles in the embattled ride-hailing company.
Uber CEO Takes Some Time Off; One Board Member Resigns
It's been quite a media maelstrom for Uber in recent months, facing allegations of sexist abuse in the workplace, reports of an aggressive corporate culture, and much more. On Tuesday, June 13, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced in a letter to employees that he would be stepping away temporarily amid the crisis to cope with the death of his mother, proving past rumors suggesting so.
But just hours later, David Bonderman, one of Uber's board members, resigned after coming under fire for making a sexist joke during an all-hands meeting to go over the results of an internal investigation that looked into reports of sexual harassment, among others.
Uber Has Some Voids To Fill, Quick
With one board member out, in addition to a vacant CEO spot, how Uber will operate going forward appears unclear. Top-level departures in recent months further compounds that uncertainty.
In all, Uber needs new people to fill the following roles: chief financial officer, chief operating officer and president of ride-sharing, senior vice president of engineering, and general counsel.
Chief Operating Officer Role Crucial
In a report published on June 13, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who led Uber's internal investigation, recommended some sweeping management changes at Uber in the wake of its numerous scandals. Part of those changes calls for a chief operating officer who "will act as a full partner" and run "day-to-day operations." The way Holder illustrated the responsibilities of the COO position made the job seem extremely crucial.
"The way the COO job is written in the recommendations makes it a really powerful and important job," said Bradley Tusk, an Uber investor and adviser. The company has never had a COO in its history, but in March, just a few weeks after a former Uber engineer published a scathing tell-all about the company's sexist workplace culture, Kalanick himself admitted he needed a right-hand executive "who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey."
Until a CEO arrives or Uber finally hires a COO, the 14 people who report to Kalanick will run the company in the meantime. Kalanick's leave of absence "may be shorter or longer than we might expect." Startup experts say that Kalanick's vague return date will impact Uber in rebuilding top executive positions.
That said, Uber stresses its ability to keep plowing forward.
"We have a strong leadership team including veterans who helped make the business what it is today and new talent who are helping to drive the changes we're committed to making," the company said in a statement.
Chief Financial Officer
Since Brent Callinicos left Uber back in 2015, the company hasn't had a proper CFO — but all had been fine until one crucial departure: Gautam Gupta, the company's top finance executive, who vacated his head of finance role to join a startup. Talks about Uber's plans to go public seems even less plausible without top positions in the finance department.
Senior Vice President Of Engineering
Uber's previous VP of engineering, Amit Singhal, resigned after being asked by Kalanick to do so when he learned that Singhal had undisclosed sexual harassment allegations during his stint at Google.
Uber presently needs a top lawyer especially since Sally Yoo, who once filled the role, was promoted to chief legal officer to help drive critical company initiatives. Among those initiatives are equal pay, workplace diversity, and an improved cultural foundation for Uber. Thus, the company needs a general counsel who'll oversee day-to-day legal operations. But Yoo will act as counsel until Uber finds a replacement.