That ballooned into a crisis starting in February, when a former employee wrote a blog post detailing what she said was a history of sexual harassment and lack of response from management at the company. The post set off a deluge of other complaints from staff about Uber’s culture, exposing a toxic environment.
Uber has since moved to clean up the situation. It has fired 20 employees in the last few months for transgressions including sexual harassment. Emil Michael, a top lieutenant of Mr. Kalanick’s, left the company this week. And many other executives have departed, leaving something of a leadership void at the company.
On Sunday, Uber’s board met for nearly seven hours at Covington & Burling’s office in Los Angeles. Afterward, the board said it had unanimously voted to adopt all of the recommendations in Mr. Holder’s report.
“Implementing these recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Liane Hornsey, Uber’s chief of human resources, said in a statement. “While change does not happen overnight, we’re committed to rebuilding trust with our employees, riders and drivers.”
Mr. Kalanick’s leave of absence was largely left to the chief executive to decide himself, people with knowledge of the situation have said. He has been under pressure for his aggressive management style, and had acknowledged he needed leadership help after a video of him berating an Uber driver became public. Mr. Kalanick, 40, is also grappling with a boating accident last month that left his mother dead and his father in the hospital.
“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” Mr. Kalanick wrote in the email to employees. “There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve.”
The recommendations to change Uber’s culture from Mr. Holder and Covington & Burling consisted of 10 main categories aimed at creating checks and balances on Uber’s senior management, enhancing the board’s oversight and revamping the company’s internal controls.
Many of the recommendations involve putting in processes to professionalize the way that Uber is run. They included performance reviews of senior leadership to hold executives accountable, better record-keeping in human resources, reformulating the company’s cultural values and mandatory manager and human resources training, as well as an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
“We recommend that Uber focus on four prevailing themes with regard to taking the following remedial measures: tone at the top, trust, transformation, and accountability,” the report said.
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