Uber, the company that has changed the way we find a taxi has been “in trouble” for years. Fighting lawsuits around its business model, fighting its corner on how it treats its drivers, employees and even its customers. All whilst building a very global and valuable business.
As each year passed though, the negative stories about its internal culture, harassment and discrimination continued to grow. As recently as two weeks ago, following an internal investigation, 20 people were fired with more still under investigation
. It seemed like a clean out of the company had begun and Uber, having resisted for years was cleaning house very publicly.
The public approach was needed to start shifting the public opinion of Uber and to start a change in culture inside Uber itself. The latter though is much harder to achieve, cultures are sticky and deeply embedded at companies as large and global as Uber. It needs big moves to alter the direction.
Well the biggest move of all happened this week. The founder and majority shareholder of Uber, Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO
, days after stepping down temporarily. It is now clear that Uber’s investors pushed for this to happen - though it required Kalanick’s agreement as the voting structure of the company gives him control.
The resignations didn’t stop there either. Bill Gurley, partner at VC firm, Benchmark was widely seen as the driving force behind Kalanick leaving. He has been replaced by a fellow partner at Benchmark
. He was one of Uber’s biggest fans from its earliest days and along with all the upheaval within the company, it may have started righting its cultural ills but so much change at the top of a company can make executing on a strategic plan difficult in such a rapidly changing environment. Each new person will add his or her own ideas and they will all be jostling for position in a company that now has a very big power vacuum.