Dilemma at Uber

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Man holding Phone showing the Uber app

The success of any stock is partly dependent on a company’s leadership. Poor leadership can result in declining profits and investors’ confidence in a stock just to name a few. While Uber Technologies Inc. is not on the market as yet, it has already fallen victim to poor leadership. The former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick is described as an egotistic jerk, self-centred, and melodramatic.

With a series of scandals and public backlash, Uber’s reputation has suffered a great deal, included spying on passengers, unreliable driverless car experiments and numerous sex scandals about Kalanick. This was compounded by the various bad decisions Kalanick made, some on a whim.

In February 2017, an engineer who is a former employee of Uber, Susan Fowler, wrote an article on instances of sexual harassment she witnessed at Uber. Kalanick was pushed to take legal action by investigating the claims made by Fowler which negatively impacted the reputation of the company.

Moreover, Uber made many enemies. The saying ‘Your friend can be your worst enemy,’ is a representation of the outcome of the close-knit relationship between Google and Uber.

In 2013, Google invested significantly in Uber and by 2017 owned billions in the company.
In an effort to compete with Google, Uber purchased Otto, a self-driving trucking startup. Uber knew Google was Otto’s rival; a company which comprised mainly of former Google employees.

The CEO of Otto, Levandowski, also a former Google employee, was found to have stolen five disks from Google which contained information on Google’s driverless project. Kalanick who allegedly knew all this information went as far as defending Levandowski to his board and wanted to protect him from Google’s lawsuit.

It is evident that Kalanick’s judgement had deteriorated over time and he no longer was the right fit for CEO. These series of events, among others, ruined the company’s reputation, declining business and employee morale.

Uber’s new CEO, Khosrowshahi, is said to be the complete opposite of Kalanick, has an enormous task ahead in salvaging Uber’s reputation as it seeks to list to list on the market.

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