Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick steps down from board

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Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from its board at the end of the year.

The 43-year-old ousted the ride-hailing firm’s original chief executive within a year of its creation, but was himself forced to stand down six-and-a-half years later in 2017 after a number of scandals.

He had, however, remained involved as one of its nine directors.

Mr Kalanick also recently sold off most of his shares in the company.

In the past two months he has liquidated about $2.5bn (£1.9bn) worth of stock, representing more than 90% of his earlier stake in the business.

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

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

Mr Kalanick currently heads up City Storage Systems. The Los Angeles-based start-up buys up land and establishes kitchens for use by delivery-only restaurants, which operate via apps including Uber Eats.

‘Profound’ legacy

The entrepreneur had previously declared: “I love Uber more than anything in the world.”

However, investors pressured him to step aside in the run up to the company’s flotation following a series of controversies.

They had involved:

  • a report that another executive had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014, and then shared them with Mr Kalanick among others
  • hundreds of complaints from staff about harassment and bullying
  • a legal dispute with Google’s parent company Alphabet over the alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars
  • an argument between Mr Kalanick and one of Uber’s San Francisco drivers over fares, which was filmed and released to the media

Mr Kalanick had also repeatedly clashed with regulators, which had helped Uber overcome and sometimes ignore restrictions that would have otherwise prevented it entering some markets.

But there was a perception that the company’s image had been tarnished as a consequence, and that his replacement – Expedia’s former chief Dara Khosrowshahi – would be seen as a less risky bet by the markets once the firm had listed.

But Mr Khosrowshahi has paid his own respects following the latest announcement.

“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” he said.

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

Mr Khosrowshahi has faced issues of his own, including one of Uber’s test self-drive cars killing a woman, and Transport for London (TfL) deciding not to renew the company’s licence to operate in the capital.

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