Uber’s CEO may take leave of absence

The chief executive of Uber could be forced to take a leave of absence after the taxi-hailing app said it would adopt recommendations from a report instigated by sexual harassment claims. The Uber board is also said to be contemplating CEO Travis Kalanick taking time off from the company, possibly to return in another position with narrower responsibilities and stronger oversight.

The world’s most valuable venture-backed private company has found itself at a crossroads as its rough-and-tumble approach to local regulations and handling employees and drivers has led to a series of problems.

Travis Kalanick has been criticised for his management style which he admitted needs improvement.

Michael will be replaced as the company’s top business development executive by David Richter, now an Uber vice president, the company spokesman said.

Board members will consider recommendations, including calls for firing some top managers, based on results of an investigation that examined the San Francisco-based company’s culture, technology news site Recode reported late Saturday.

Last week, the company fired 20 employees for hostility towards women after reviewing complaints, including 215 sexual harassment claims.

“I signed on with the company nearly four years ago and it has truly been the experience of a lifetime helping Uber become the fastest growing company of all-time – spanning 75 countries with over 14,000 employees”, Michael wrote in his goodbye letter first posted on The New York Times. Michael may be best known outside the company for suggesting in 2014 that the company could hire researchers and reporters to target journalists who were critical of the company.

A blog post by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, published in February, brought attention to the controversial culture allegedly rampant at the company.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chief Business Officer Emil Michael plans to resign as early as Monday, as fallout from the report.

After a tumultuous few weeks for Uber, we’re finally seeing real changes at the company. Having joined Uber from Klout in 2013, Michael oversaw Uber’s broader business strategy, including partnerships and fundraising.

The changes would also further destabilise the leadership at Uber, which has upended the transportation industry worldwide.