It took three months, but the long-awaited report about Uber’s culture from former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm was published this week. You can read the 13-page report with its 47 recommendations here. Uber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt all of the recommendations.
CEO, Travis Kalanick, will have a reduced leadership role. Parts of his job will be given to a new Chief Operating Officer charged with implementing the Board’s recommendations. There will also be more Board oversight of management, and steps to create a more independent Board that can actually hold management accountable (including financially).
In addition, it was also reported that the CEO is taking an immediate and indefinite leave of absence. It has been a rough year for Kalanick, whose mother recently died in a boating accident where his father was also seriously injured.
In his statement to Uber employees he writes: “The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.”
The report also reads like a help-wanted advertisement to consultants of all types as it requires:
- Mandatory Leadership Training for Key Senior Management and Executive Team Members
- Mandatory Human Resources Training
- Mandatory Manager Training
- Interview Training
Uber is also in the market for several senior executives including a new Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President of Engineering, and General Counsel after many high profile departures.
There are also recommended changes to the Human Resources Department and complaint process, which seem long overdue. As you know from prior blog posts, the way Human Resources reportedly handled the harassment issues raised by female engineers was a lesson in how not to investigate a complaint.
Steps will also be taken to limit the party atmosphere (less alcohol and controlled substances at work) and to prohibit romantic or intimate relationships between individuals in a reporting relationship. Hard to imagine that these protections were not already in place for a business with over 12,000 employees.
Probably the most entertaining recommendations were a revamp of the company’s core values to eliminate those that have been used to justify poor behavior, such as:
- Let Builders Build
- Always be Hustlin’
- Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping
- Principled Confrontation
Oh, and my personal favorite, the War Rooms will now be designated Peace Rooms.
Some are skeptical that Uber can change. Whether it can depends on whether Kalanick and other senior managers can set aside the aggressive culture to walk-the-walk, and not just talk-the-new- peaceful-inclusive-talk.