Travis Kalanick was blindsided by an abrupt investor mutiny. He probably also saw it coming from a mile away.
The infamous 40-year-old Uber founder was this week effectively removed from his throne as CEO, the end result of a secret campaign established by key investors who had grown tired of Kalanick’s constant missteps.
Kalanick’s temporary leave—in part spurred by the death of his mother in May—quickly devolved into a permanent resignation, despite having voting power to hold his position. It’s believed he finally succumbed to the pressure of an uphill battle.
A strongly worded letter from investors to Kalanick essentially sealed his fate.
“At this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside,” the former chief said in a statement.
Under Kalanick, Uber grew from nothing in 2009 to a transportation titan today valued at nearly $70 billion. But it was never with controversy: over how drivers were treated, over how employees were treated, over how the entire business was run—from deceiving authorities to stealing intellectual property.
Uber, which now has 14,000 workers, wants to keep the growth but shed the shady image.
“We will hire a great CEO and keep pushing forward,” a fellow cofounder, Garrett Camp, tweeted this week. “Change is healthy, and needed.”
Uber’s official statement mentioned that its goal is “building a company and culture that we can be proud of.”
As a final blow to the battered entrepreneur, Kalanick will not receive severance or any other post-employment benefits, according to Bloomberg.