Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Uber Employees Want CEO Travis Kalanick Back, Float A Petition

Uber Employees Want CEO Travis Kalanick Back, Float A Petition

Both the letter and the petition are a reflection of a growing disgruntlement among some of Uber's 15,000 employees about the manner in which the company's founder and chief executive was sacked.

Linked in the email was an anonymous petition for any employees to express their support for Kalanick's return to the company.

"This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber", the board said. Late Tuesday, Kalanick, 40, said he would step down as Uber's chief executive after a coterie of investors - including Benchmark, one of the company's biggest shareholders - pushed for him to resign.

According to a person familiar with conversations between Kalanick and Alexander, the two executives had discussed obtaining the victim's records because they suspected the rape might have been fabricated by an Uber rival to damage the company. The authors of the letter say that Kalanick is important to the future of the company, and they make a thinly veiled suggestion that the board used him as a scapegoat.

Uber hired Holder's firm Covington and Burling to look into its culture and workplace practices after a female former employee, Susan Fowler, publicly accused the company of sexual harassment.

It has been a rollercoaster week for Uber following Travis Kalanick's step-down as the company's chief executive.

Uber recently fired Levandowski, who was leading the company's autonomous vehicle venture, because he declined to cooperate with the lawsuit.

Privately held Uber has grown from startup to a global ride service valued at $68 billion in less than a decade, driven by Kalanick, who set the tone of a company that challenged laws and norms to succeed. Many have fretted about the corporate governance implications of Snapchat going public by releasing only non-voting stock to the public; but if the company ends up cratering CEO Evan Spiegel is likely to be outgoing.

The resignation sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley and leaves Uber's board of directors with the problem of finding a dynamic leader who also has a steady hand needed to heal Uber after a bruising six months.

The scenario sketched by Uber comes a few weeks after the company fired Levandowski for refusing to relinquish his Fifth Amendment rights and cooperate with its efforts to defend itself against Waymo's suit.

The document, dated April 11, 2016, references "Pre-Signing Bad Acts", which covers behaviour including fraud and trade-secrets theft, as well as "Post-Signing Specified Bad Acts". Amidst all this, the fate of Uber and its direction is still to be decided at the hands of the Board members.

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