Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick will step down from the company’s board at the end of the year, cutting ties with the ride-sharing platform and selling the rest of his shares, according to Ars Technica.
Investors ousted Kalanick as Uber’s CEO following a series of scandals and scrutiny of the company’s workplace culture in 2017, but he remained on the board as one of nine directors. In recent months, Kalanick started selling off his shares.
“At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” he said in a statement released by Uber. “I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.”
Uber saw a meteoric rise in popularity and rapid expansion under Kalanick, followed by a series of scandals over a range of issues including Uber’s efforts to thwart regulators, workplace harassment, passenger safety, and a legal dispute over the alleged theft of trade secrets from Google.
As part of an effort to clean up Uber’s public image, Kalanick was succeeded by their current chief, Dara Khosrowshahi, a seemingly less risky figure who promised changes to the company culture. But Uber has since encountered new difficulties, facing efforts for increased regulation in London, Germany, and California. The company has also scaled back their development of autonomous vehicles after a woman in Arizona was killed in an accident earlier this year.
“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” Khosrowshahi said in response to the former CEO’s recent announcement. “I’m enormously grateful for Travis’s vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member.”
After going public earlier this year, Uber has reported steep net losses, and a current market value of $52 billion, below its last valuation as a private company. It reported $1.1 billion of losses in the most recent quarter, and shares have dropped by a third since the company’s initial public offering.
According to the Financial Times, Kalanick’s move to distance himself from Uber could signal a lack of confidence in the company’s plans, in contrast to Khosrowshahi’s recent move to buy more shares in a show of faith.
Since he was ousted as CEO, Kalanick founded CloudKitchens, a “dark kitchen” startup, renting out space for kitchens that operate exclusively through delivery platforms such as Uber Eats.
Photo by Heisenberg Media [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]