To say that Uber’s had a long and tough 2017 would be a gross understatement. After the blog post about one former female employee’s experience “very strange year” at Uber went viral, many other former employees spoke up about their bad experiences with the company, and they soon found themselves smack in the middle of a PR nightmare that’s only proceeded to get worse. In response, Travis Kalanick stepped down from his position as CEO without naming a successor. However, the company’s search for a new CEO may be coming to a close.
According to tech journalist Kara Swisher, the company is seriously considering former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, and a board vote is expected to happen soon. While Kalanick has stepped down as CEO, he still holds a powerful position in the company, serving on the board with the power to appoint two more board seats. However, early investor Benchmark Capital has objected to this influence on legal grounds. In response, Kalanick has accused the company of taking advantage of him when they persuaded him to step down from Uber in the immediate aftermath of his mother’s death. He’s also stated that at some point he wants to return to his position as CEO.
While Immelt seems likely to take the reins, investors in Uber aren’t entirely on board with the idea, expressing concern about his vision, industry expertise, and disposition. Because of this, Immelt is anything but a done deal. The deal is expected to happen within the next two weeks. Since the company has yet to go public or get acquired, Uber’s impressive valuation, at $68.5 billion, is as of yet paper money, making this issue particularly pressing. I’m interested to see where Uber stands one year from now.