Travis Kalanick To Sever Ties With Uber

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Controversial Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from the company’s board of directors after selling off most of his shares

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from the company’s board of directors by the end of the year.

The move comes after Kalanick sold off more than 90 percent of his former stake in the company over a period of two months, for a total of about $2.5 billion (£1.9bn).

Kalanick took over as chief executive of Uber shortly after it was founded in 2009, but investors pressured him to step down in 2017 ahead of the company’s flotation, following a number of controversies.

The 43-year-old said he wanted to spend more time on other business interests.

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. Uber
Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. Uber

‘Ghost kitchens’

“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,” Kalanick said in a statement issued by Uber.

“I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.”

Dara Khosrowshahi, Kalanick’s successor as Uber chief, said Kalanick had built something “profound” with Uber.

“I’m enormously grateful for Travis’ vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member,” Khosrowshahi said.

Kalanick is currently head of City Storage Systems, a Los Angeles-based start-up that offers “ghost kitchens”, kitchen space that can be rented by restaurants to offer delivery services via apps such as Uber Eats.

Controversies

In June 2018 City Storage Systems took a controlling interest in the UK’s FoodStars, a “ghost kitchen” start-up with more than 100 locations in the London area.

As Uber chief, Kalanick was known for his confrontational attitude with regulators, which led him to often bypass or ignore rules that might otherwise have prevented Uber from operating in some cities at all.

During his tenure Uber became involved in a legal dispute with Google parent Alphabet over the alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars.

Other scandals related to assaults on passengers by drivers and hundreds of complaints by staff about harassment and bullying.

Khosrowshahi, former head of Expedia, was seen as a safer bet for chief executive when the firm went public.

But he has faced his share of challenges, including moves by regulators in Germany and London to bar the company from operating in those markets.

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