That’s according to Uber board member (and former HuffPost editor in chief) Arianna Huffington, who told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the ride-hailing company’s board doesn’t anticipate asking Kalanick to step down.
“The fact is that the board has confidence in Travis and we are proceeding ahead with the search for the COO,” Huffington said, responding to a reporter’s question about whether Kalanick would step down if he were asked. “This is a completely hypothetical question. It has not taken place.”
It’s been a tumultuous couple weeks for Uber, with #DeleteUber protests that led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of users, a potentially devastating lawsuit from competitor Waymo alleging theft of trade secrets, claims by former employees of a work culture that tolerates sexual harassment, and ― most damaging to Kalanick personally ― the emergence of a video of Kalanick angrily telling off an Uber driver upset by compensation changes.
On Sunday, Uber president (and second in command) Jeff Jones abruptly resigned. Jones fired off a parting statement: “The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business.”
Kalanick, battered by the unending controversies, has pledged to “fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.” The company is looking to hire a chief operating officer to work as “a partner” with Kalanick, Huffington said.
“It’s clear that both Uber and the whole ride-sharing industry would not be where we are today without Travis,” Huffington said, explaining why Uber’s board continues to back Kalanick. “He has helped create an entire industry and a great company, which millions of people rely on every day.”