Uber SEO Travis Kalanick is told staff he will be on leave for an undetermined length of time, citing the death of his mother and the need to mourn as a principal reason. While there is undoubtedly an element of truth to this, it is also obvious that there was probably a case of investors and the board reaching a point of frustration with an executive who has come to represent male chauvinism in Silicon Valley.
The allegations against Kalanick and the culture he created continue to come thick and fast, with current and former employees describing the, “macho,” and, “bullying,” culture that was not only ignored by senior executives, but encouraged by many. Heavy drinking, drugs and sexual harassment are only a few of the disturbing stories shared by employees, both under the cover of, “an unknown source,” and by employees happy to be quoted.
Perhaps the most disturbing story was that of Kalanick and another senior executive taking Uber employees to a strip club in Seoul, where managers picked from girls who were asked to line up in front of the bar.
This example could be seen as indicative of the types of behaviour that were not only acceptable, but encouraged at the rideshare business. Stories of degradation, drug use and alcoholism that would be better placed in a 1980’s film about cliché stockbrokers, combined with horrifying tales of the treatment of female staff that is straight out of Mad Men, perhaps explains the mindset of the business and its CEO.
now, it’s going to be up to others to fix the mess. The business has openly admitted that it either had very few formal human resources policies, or simply didn’t use them and as a result, additional lawsuits will likely follow. The new – supposedly interim – leadership team will be forced to take an established business with thousands of employees and treat it like a start-up; developing policies, training staff on the right way to deal with each other and explaining the ramifications of not complying with Federal law.
Suddenly, the most exciting and disruptive start-up for the last 10 years, that grew into a multi-billion on dollar business, this going to be the most boring place to work.