Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigning Reaction

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The story of Uber transforming from a tiny ride-hailing company to a global company worth $70 billion is the quintessential Silicon Valley success story. So on one hand, it’s unsurprising that as news broke that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned, people began expressing feelings of sorrow and discontent. How could Uber’s board members force out its visionary CEO? Still, others in the Valley were glad to see the problematic CEO go — and admonished those who felt it was a loss for the company.

Uber’s long list of scandals began to be revealed in 2017, starting with a blog post from former employee Susan Fowler. In her post, she detailed the sexual harassment she faced when she was an engineer at the company and the managers and human resources staffers who did nothing. Her story was one of several sexist and creepy issues the company dealt with in the past: Kalanick coining the phrase “Boob-er,” the company using a tool called “God View” to track the location of users without their permission, promising users in France they could be driven by “sexy girls,” and many more. With all that in mind, there were still people who reacted like this to his resignation.

Bill Gurley was an Uber board member until he left the company on June 21, a day after Kalanick’s resignation.

Web developer Marco Rogers wasn’t willing to let him off the hook so fast. Instead, he bemoaned how pervasive behavior like Kalanick’s really is among CEOs: ” . . . creating a hugely sexist environment, where [people] are overworked, undervalued, and underpaid. That’s not uncommon. Doesn’t require ‘evil.'”

Or as Marc Hedlund, CEO and cofounder of Skyliner, remarked, growing a company doesn’t excuse Kalanick’s behavior or the culture he helped create.

So while some current Uber employees lament the loss of their CEO and circulate petitions to get him back in power (by the way, Kalanick still retains a board seat and voting rights), they’d be wise to consider this: your company might become better and bigger without a leader who perpetuated sexism and a toxic work culture.