Will Findings Force Uber’s Kalanick and Michael to Drive Off into the Sunset?

The results of former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s investigation have been released and I applaud the report for recommending that Uber undergo a systemic change. This includes dismissing Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael, a top lieutenant of CEO Travis Kalanick, and having Kalanick take a three-month leave of absence. According to an article in Sunday’s New York Times, the Uber board has voted unanimously for all of Holder’s recommendations.

As I discuss in my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, no amount of small-scale changes will fundamentally fix a company as plagued as Uber. The only way to make lasting change is to make a complete shift in how business is conducted and institute the Ethic of Reciprocity as a core value. 

Stripping the misbehaving CEO of a key ally is a step in the right direction, but there must be safeguards in place for the health and well-being of all employees, including the founder. According to the Times article, Kalanick hasn’t taken time off since 2009, not even for an accident that killed his mother and hospitalized his father. How can such a man understand the need for a psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplace? No wonder employees have been driven to the point of suicide.

Will Uber follow the recommendations laid down by Holder and approved by his board? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure—to ignore these findings could bring the entire company crashing to a halt.

Photo credit: MMM