Uber’s board is made of up eight individuals, but it seems that this small group can’t make a unified decision about who should take the position of CEO. The position was vacated by Travis Kalanick after several unsavory mentions in the national press over issues of abuse. A handful of the board members wanted the position to go to Meg Whitman, the current CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Whitman has many of the qualities that would make her a good fit, and a group of the Uber board members wanted to try to secure her appointment by meeting with her individually to discuss the company’s future.
Unfortunately, Kalanick still sits on the board despite the fact that he is no longer CEO. This is because he was one of the founding members, and it seems that his alliance on the board is opposing any other candidate simply because he and some of his supporters want to eventually return him to the position of CEO. This could be accomplished by Kalanick championing a different candidate whom he has in his pocket, and that candidate could then bring Kalanick back into the fold of operations at the company. Such a role would make it possible for Kalanick to regain the CEO position if his candidate eventually resigns.
Surrogates for Kalanick have started discussions with SoftBank, a Japanese banking giant, in order to secure an investment that might make it easier for Kalanick to return to power within Uber. Such an investment would be contingent on his return, but it could be too large of an investment for the rest of the board to ignore.
As alliances on the board have been forged and broken, control of the ride-hailing company is still up in the air. Certain anonymous sources close to the discussions have painted a picture of constantly shifting agreements and informational leaks that sway arguments one way or the other. In response to the bickering, Meg Whitman recently took to Twitter to announce that she would no longer be seeking the position. This could be a good thing for Kalanick, but a bad thing for Uber in general.
Sources claim that there are a total of four candidates being considered for the position of CEO, and Uber claims a new CEO will be chosen within six weeks. That might seem like a long time for eight people to discuss the future of one company, but when that company is worth over $70 billion, these issues don’t move quickly.
It seems there are basically two camps within the Uber board. The first is made up of those who want Kalanick to return to the CEO position, and the second is made up of those those who want anyone else. Several of the members seem to be impartial, but they will have to make a decision soon. If the board doesn’t come to some sort of agreement, they will be left without a CEO much the way they are left without a CFO after more than two years of vacancy in that financial controlling position.
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