Travis Kalanick (pictured) resigned as CEO of Uber, the popular ride-hailing app maker which he co-founded and led for eight years, following pressure from investors.
Benchmark (one of Uber’s biggest shareholders), First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments signed a letter demanding Kalanick’s resignation
The letter, seen by The New York Times, was titled “Moving Uber forward”.
Earlier it was reported Kalanick was taking a break from the company to deal with the death of his mother in a car accident, leaving his 14 top executives in charge of Uber rather than choosing anyone in particular to take his place.
In a statement, Kalanick said: “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.”
Kalanick’s judgement was under scrutiny following a series of controversies so far in 2017, including allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace, a lawsuit over self-driving car technology, and a software programme used to mislead regulators.
A probe into more than 200 cases of harassment resulted in 20 people being fired from Uber earlier this month.
Kalanick also came under pressure after a leaked video showed him being rude to an Uber driver. The former CEO pledged to seek “leadership help”, acknowledging he needed to “grow up”.
The board said in a statement: “Travis has always put Uber first. This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber. By stepping away, he’s taking the time to heal from his personal tragedy while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history. We look forward to continuing to serve with him on the board.”
Kalanick previously founded two other start-ups, one of which went bankrupt.
Uber grew rapidly under his leadership, raising more than $14 billion, a record for a Silicon Valley startup. It is valued at around $70 billion.
The company’s revenue was more than $9 billion in the last four quarters and in the first quarter of 2017 sales tripled the levels of a year before.
“There will be many pages in the history books devoted to @travisk – very few entrepreneurs have had such a lasting impact on the world,” tweeted Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark who is on Uber’s board.