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Uber's Board Will Discuss CEO Travis Kalanick's Temporary Leave & Policy Issues

Kalanick has developed a reputation as an abrasive leader, and that he is inefficient in handling the leadership in the company. The 40-year-old executive was captured on video in February berating an Uber driver.

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Uber's board is discussing the leave of Travis Kalanick, CEO of the embattled ride-hailing firm and is considering sweeping changes to the company's management policies on a temporary basis.

The board is keen to reach a point in the discussion the possibility of Kalanick’s return in a role with less authority and narrower responsibilities. The internal policy and management changes are recommended by attorneys hired to investigate sexual harassment cases in the firm.

Uber has not publicized the pivotal news for it’s the world's most valuable venture-backed private company, which has turned over the taxi industry in many countries but has run into several legal troubles due to rough approach with local regulations and the way it handles employees and drivers.

At the Sunday board meeting, seven voting members including Kalanick, are expected to vote on recommendations made by the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, which conducted a review of the company's policies and culture.

The review was launched in February after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing what she described as sexual harassment and the lack of a suitable response by senior managers. Fowler now works for digital payments company Stripe. Uber's board will likely tell employees and the public of its decisions by Tuesday.

Kalanick has developed a reputation as an abrasive leader, and that he is inefficient in handling the leadership in the company. The 40-year-old executive was captured on video in February berating an Uber driver.

The board has been looking for a chief operating officer to help Kalanick run the company since March. The report was prepared by Holder and partner Tammy Albarran at Covington & Burling. It comes shortly after another law firm, Perkins Coie, submitted a separate report on sexual harassment and other employee concerns at the company.

Uber has so car fired 20 employees for a variety of reasons, and is increasing training for them for adopting new policies. Till date there have been 215 cases encompassing sexual harassment, discrimination, unprofessional behavior, bullying and other employee complaints.

The San Francisco-based Uber is valued at nearly $70 billion but has yet to turn a profit. The company has more than 1.5 million drivers worldwide, who are classified as independent contractors rather than employees.

Kalanick at the moment is facing a personal trauma: his mother died last month in a boating accident, in which his father was also badly injured. Employees and former employees interviewed by Holder's team complained about sexual and racial bias, bullying and retaliation, according to people familiar with their accounts.

Also, the company's handling of a crisis in India after one of its drivers was arrested for raping a customer. Though the man was convicted in 2015, Kalanick and other executives became convinced that the crime was a set up by a local competitor. Eric Alexander, the head of Asian business, reportedly shared medical records internally that he argued showed that the woman had been assaulted but not raped. Uber confirmed Alexander had left the company but declined to discuss the matter further.


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