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25.12.2019 Europe

Uber co-founder Kalanick to resign at end of 2019

By RFI
Danish Siddiqui/File photo/Reuters
LISTEN DEC 25, 2019
Danish Siddiqui/File photo/Reuters

The co-founder of the ride-sharing app Uber has announced he is to leave the company's board of directors at the end of 2019. Travis Kalanick was already pushed out as chief executive in 2017 amid scandals surrounding workplace culture and questionable business tactics.

Kalanick and co-founder Garrett Camp got the idea for Uber while visiting Paris in December 2008 when they were unable to find a taxi. They launched UberCab in San Francisco in July 2010, and the company name shortened three months later to Uber.

Since then the company has grown, operating in 700 cities in 65 countries around the world, at the time of its initial public offering in May.

Kalanick, who had been one of Uber's biggest shareholders, with nine per cent of the company at the time of the IPO, is to resign from the board of directors effective 31 December "to focus on his new business and philanthropic endeavours", Uber said in a statement.

In the communiqué, Kalanick said, "I'm proud of all that Uber has achieved, and I will continue to cheer for its future from the side-lines."

Already under pressure
Kalanick resigned CEO in June 2017 under pressure, as reports emerged of harassment and discrimination and the controversial business practices that accompanied the company's stunning rise.

Uber has run into trouble in places like France, which has seen taxi drivers protest against its business practices.

Kalanick was accused of presiding over a workplace environment that allowed rampant sexual harassment. After multiple investigations, Uber fired 20 employees accused of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation against those who complained.

This month, the company paid $4.4 million (3.9 million euros) to settle a federal investigation over workplace misconduct.

The company appointed Dara Khosrowshahi, former Expedia chief, as CEO. She has taken steps to clean up the company's image, including as upgrading its rider safety programs and disclosing figures on sexual assaults.

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