As Uber is set to arrive soon in the Kingdom of Cambodia, its international leadership has been greatly affected this week. The co-founder and C.E.O. of Uber, Travis Kalanick, resigned from his position, last Tuesday 20th of June. His role as the C.E.O. of Uber was greatly affected by recent controversies after several sexist and discriminatory scandals. Five major investors, including the American venture capital firm Benchmark, wrote a letter titled “Moving Uber Forward” demanding Mr. Kalanick’s resignation. The now ex-C.E.O. will nonetheless remain an Uber board member. The five shareholders also told Mr. Kalanick that they want him to handle the search for a new chief executive and that the company needed to hire an experienced chief financial officer.
A statement issued by Uber said that Mr. Kalanick had “always put Uber first” and that his resignation would give the company “room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history.”. With fair play, Mr. Kalanick stated “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.”.
Mr. Kalanick’s reputation was put to pieces when revelations about Uber’s workplace culture started to be released. A former engineer of Uber named Susan Fowler created a tsunami when she wrote on her blog “There was a game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management in the infrastructure engineering organization. It seemed like every manager was fighting with their peers and attempting to undermine their direct supervisor so that they could have their direct supervisor’s job.”. Moreover the company faces a minimum of three lawsuits in different countries. Earlier this month 20 Uber employees were fired after law firm Perkins Coie recommended terminations. The same cabinet is reviewing 215 human resources claims by Uber employees, some being allegations of sexual harassment.
In addition to the controversy of Uber facing people management problems, the company also faces financial troubles. In 2017 Uber reported a loss of 2.8 billion USD, excluding its business in China. There is thus a need for change, but with so many vacant positions at the top hierarchy, a push for a more moral CEO to restructure Uber is essential for the company to get a huge boost while reversing the current trend. To do so, the Company started a new communication campaign titled “180 days of change”, its first measure being the capacity for Uber users to tip their drivers. This measure is not sufficient to drastically change Uber’s reputation but is one step towards its redemption.
The turmoil affecting Uber should put the arrival of the application in Cambodia to a slow start. Two meetings were organized in January and in April between representatives of the American company and Cambodian Ministers to discuss and prepare the arrival. In Cambodia Uber would face a strong competition with Exnet Taxi, EZGo, Go Tuk Tuk and the Japanese Itsumo already on the market.