Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been forced to step down from the company he co-founded eight years ago, following a revolt from investors.
Kalanick helped built Uber into the most valuable private tech company in the world, but a series of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination internally and several legal battles around the world have plagued Uber recently.
The CEO was at the centre of most of these controversies, with revelations his risk-taking attitude had put the company and its employees at risk on multiple occasions.
Following the release of a report on Uber’s internal culture that resulted in 20 employees being fired, Kalanick went on indefinite leave last week. But that wasn’t enough to appease five of the company’s major investors, who delivered a letter to Kalanick on Tuesday demanding he step aside.
After consulting with other shareholders, Kalanick agreed to resign from the company.
“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement.
Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board of directors and is still a major shareholder in the business.
A statement from Uber’s board said the move now gives “room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history”.
“Travis has always put Uber first. This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber,” the statement said.
The troubles began at the start of this year with a blog post from a former employee, Susan J Fowler, detailing the harassment and discrimination she faced at Uber, and how managers worked to cover it up. This lead to several other former employees coming forward with similar allegations.
Kalanick’s leadership style was also thrown into the spotlight following a video showing him engaging in a verbal argument with an Uber driver, and an expose into his risk-taking attitude to running the company.
The company is also facing a lawsuit from Google and inquests from governments around the world into its efforts to evade law enforcement.