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Uber Looks For a Life Line In COO Search

— March 8, 2017

Uber looks for a life line for its current negative reputation in a search for a COO.

Uber, the popular ride sharing company headquartered in San Francisco and valued at $70 million, has received a lot of negative flack in the news lately.  Officially Uber Technologies Inc., the enterprise was originally founded in 2009 as UberCab by Garrett Camp, founder of StumbleUpon, and Travis Kalanick, who had sold his start-up Red Swoosh for $19 million in 2007 in order to begin a new line of work.  In 2011, in a true millennial-like move, the company opted to drop the last half of its name, becoming just “Uber” to the general public.

Image Courtesy of Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Allegations of sexual harassment from one of its female employees has sparked a frantic investigation currently underway.  Susan Fowler began blogging about the harassment she was subjected to by her superiors and how she received little help when she initially reported the misbehavior.  The blog caused a frenzy of backlash on social media.  This came amid a viral boycott of Uber that began in January of this year.  Social media users began posting the phrase “#DeleteUber” all over the Internet after they came to believe the company was responsible for breaking up a strike led by taxi drivers protesting President Donald Trump’s travel ban.  The ride-sharing enterprise was also just hit with allegations from former employees about a “brutal” culture, as well as a lawsuit from a self-driving vehicle competitor, Waymo, claiming Uber stole intellectual property.

Additionally, Uber users showed immediately contempt toward Kalanick’s decision to join President Tump’s business advisory council, a position which he eventually stepped down from.  But, soon after, was caught on camera ensuing an argument with one of the taxi drivers.  This video was leaked two weeks ago.  Kalanik responded, “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” seemingly acknowledging his own immaturity.  

Image Courtesy of Under The Button

This is partly why the relatively young 40 year old CEO just announced his quest for a new leader to take on the company’s Chief Operating Officer position.  Perhaps finding a more business savvy individual to fill the spot will steer the transportation company into calmer waters.  “We’re actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey,” Kalanik announced to team members on Tuesday, adding “I need leadership help, and I intend to get it.”  That is an understatement, especially coming from someone who may not be cut out for this line of work, routinely boycotting city laws and regulations to more quickly grow his business while bragging to the public that his position has helped him get women.  

Finding a leader who is willing to fill the COO spot despite the poor position in which Uber now sits and work beside a leader with such a negative track record will not be easy.  But, the company desperately is in need of someone willing to throw a life line and restore its reputation.  This business move has become somewhat of a fad in Silicone Valley with many young entrepreneurs bringing in tried and true business minds to help keep their companies afloat.  Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a prime example.  The young executive hired Sheryl Sandberg, a technology executive with a long track record, into its COO spot. It’s a plan that has so far seemed to work.


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