Big Day for Uber: Eric Holder Investigation Is In

CEO Travis Kalanick may take a leave of absence
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2017 2:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – Privately valued at $70 billion and operating in 80 countries, Uber seems to have as much potential as it does scandal. And that’s precisely what its board members are meeting about Sunday, reports the New York Times, when they’re set to discuss a possible leave of absence of CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick. During the meeting, the board will also review an exhaustive investigation into the company’s troubles led by former attorney general Eric Holder and his Covington & Burling colleague Tammy Albarran. The report, known as the "Holder Investigation" by insiders, seeks to shed light on the seemingly nonstop scandalous headlines that have painted Uber’s work culture as toxic. Among other things, the job of senior VP Emil Michael is reportedly in danger.

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Before Sunday’s meeting, few had seen the report, which was launched in February after a former engineer detailed alleged sexual harassment that resulted in workplace repercussions in a viral blog post. One source told Recode that its findings were “ugly” and “a story of a workplace gone wrong in a lot of key ways.” Though the months-long investigation involves hundreds of interviews, the Times points out that Kalanick and members close to him have more voting power than the rest of the board given their “founder-friendly” governing structure, essentially giving them the power to ignore its recommendations. But empty gestures from the top can backfire, warns attorney Stephen Hirschfeld: “It can have an even worse impact on company morale if people already know it’s a total joke.” (Read more Uber stories.)

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