Ahead of the announced findings of an internal probe into Uber’s workplace culture, the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, reportedly told employees that he’s temporarily stepping down to grieve for his mother. Amid the sea of scandals that has shaken Uber for months, Kalanick’s mother tragically passed away last month in a boating accident.
The news of his temporary departure was first reported by Mike Isaac of The New York Times. An Uber spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kalanick wrote that if “we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.”
“During the interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company,” he said.
The decision comes amid intense speculation about Kalanick’s ability to retain control of the company. This year alone, 14 executives have left the company alone, and calls for Kalanick’s resignation heated up again after disturbing allegations emerged of how executives at Uber had obtained the medical records of a woman in India who was raped by an Uber driver in December 2014.
Uber is holding an all-hands meeting right now to discuss the recommendations of the internal probe, which were released moments ago.
Update: Here’s the full memo Kalanick sent to his staff today.
For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber. Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.
The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.
During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly.
It’s hard to put a timeline on this - it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes. The incredible outpouring of heartfelt notes and condolences from all of you have kept me strong but almost universally they have ended with ‘How can I help?’. My answer is simple. Do your life’s work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. Put people first, that is my mom’s legacy. And make Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work all of you do, and the inspiring people that make Uber great.