Since Uber’s founding in 2009, the San Francisco-based company has tested the world’s tolerance for disruption and rule-breaking. The company’s toe-stepping ways, overseen by co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, helped the ride-hailing company grow to more than 600 cities and a $69 billion private valuation. But the startup’s aggressive approach left a trail of self-inflicted wounds along the way. Below are some of the raging fires that Uber’s new CEO will need to put out.
Fill the executive ranks with experienced leaders
A new chief executive is just the start for Uber.
The company doesn’t have a chief operating officer, chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, president, general counsel, or senior vice-president for engineering. Khosrowshahi
will need to fill those jobs with the help of his board. Since Kalanick’s resignation, Uber
has been led by a committee of 14 executives, several of whom were promoted after their bosses left the company.
Repair employee morale
will need to rally Uber’s global workforce. While many employees had grown tired of their former CEO’s regular public missteps, he was also beloved by some inside the company’s headquarters. The rank-and-file has undergone an extended soul-searching process as former US
Attorney General Eric Holder investigated the company’s corporate culture.
That company-commissioned inquiry began after ex-Uber software
engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in February alleging that her former manager had propositioned her for sex and that the HR department hadn’t taken action.
Turn a profit and parry competitors
Uber’s investors celebrated when the start-up lost $645 million in the second quarter of 2017. For any other company that would have been a blood-red bottom line, but for Uber
it was a marked improvement over the $991 million in losses in the final quarter of 2016. While the company’s ride-hailing business contributes more and more to the bottom line, Uber
is spending hundreds of millions on food delivery and autonomous vehicles.
Improve relations with drivers
Kalanick had long resisted allowing riders to tip drivers within the ride-hailer’s smartphone
app. Soon after Kalanick began a leave of absence (which then became a resignation), Uber
said it would reverse course and allow tips. The company launched a 180-day campaign meant to rehabilitate its image with drivers in the US.