& cplSiteName &

Uber Does Housekeeping Amongst CEO Strategizing

Sarah Thomas

Intrigue at Uber is showing no signs of winding down with summer as the ride-hailing company continues its narrowing CEO search, updates its employee performance reviews and considers the possibility of ousted CEO Travis Kalanick's "Steve Jobs-ing" his way back in.

Uber is continuing its months-long process of rehabbing its image, a process which began in February when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post exposing a toxic culture of sexism, retaliation and discrimination. A huge part of its success hinges on finding a suitable CEO to replace Kalanick, who was recently asked to take an indefinite leave of absence from the company he founded. (See Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims, Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO and Uber Hopes Holder Reform Will Stop Implosion .)

Uber is said to be appointing a new CEO in the coming weeks, but its list of candidates is dwindling, down to just a few men. Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, considered a serious possibility, took her name out of the ring this week, Tweeting that she is fully committed to HPE and that "Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman."

Other potential candidates considered reportedly included Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, General Motors’ Mary Barra, EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall and Bank of America's Anne Finucane, but all were either not interested in the job or didn't ultimately end up working out. Sources now tell Recode that the search is down to just four male candidates, all of which are current CEOs and only one of which is a person of color. Outgoing GE CEO Jeff Immelt is reportedly on this short list. Uber is also still in need of a CFO and COO and is seeking to fill the positions with women. (See Uber Drains the Swamp, but Is It Too Deep?)

At the same time, the Uber board is grappling with -- though not addressing to media -- rumors that Kalanick doesn't plan to stay away for long. The disgraced CEO is reportedly telling people he plans to "Steve Jobs it" and return to the company he founded, but was ousted from, to regain his/its glory. Incidentally, his continued involvement on Uber's board and perhaps the threat of his return is one reason the company is having a hard time pinning down a new CEO.

Join Women in Comms for its upcoming networking breakfast in Denver, Colorado, on September 28 where we'll be tackling the question of, "what's the matter with the tech industry?"

Meanwhile, the new executives that Uber did get in the C-suite are already busy changing things up, starting with how they review their employees. Uber Operations and Logistics Manager Nicole Cuellar tells TechCrunch that the company is no longer using employee ratings and rankings in its review process. Employees complained that the previous ways of reviewing employees were so subjective they left room for manager biases to prejudice the process. Now they will use concrete goals and a transparent process to hold each other accountable. Cueller tells the blog that in addition to personal goals, they also are including a citizenship goal aimed at doing good for someone else inside or outside the company.

Uber's recently appointed SVP of Leadership and Strategy Frances Frei, who joined the company in June, also tells TechCrunch she has been busy conducting feedback sessions with 9,000 of Uber's employees, including 3,000 managers, learning their goals and ideas to improve the company culture. (See Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech?)

Uber says it has increased some salaries to ensure equal pay across the board and is working to ensure everything it does is fair and equitable.

This, of course, is largely because everything it does is now under scrutiny by its employees, investors, board and the rest of the tech world, which is waiting to see if it can dig itself out of its gigantic hole.

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Director, Women in Comms

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/7/2017 | 8:18:45 PM
Re: Uber CEO
It would make a lot of sense for Uber to hire a CEO from the auto industry. Yes, Uber's tech is what made it a $70B company. But inroads into the car sector could give Uber a competitive advantage. 
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
8/3/2017 | 4:02:33 PM
Uber CEO
We should hear about the next Uber CEO soon if the board can agree on a candidate. Knowing how the list has winnowed, any updated projections on who that might be? 
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed