Emil Michael, an executive known to be very close with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, is out at the ride-hailing company, the New York Times reported. Uber confirmed the departure to Mashable and had no additional comment.
You probably didn’t know his name, but Michael was one of the most powerful people at the ride-hailing service used by millions around the world. he was the close confidant of CEO Travis Kalanick and served as the senior vice president of business, meaning he helped locked down all those big partnerships to make Uber the global tech giant that it is today.
His departure comes the day after Uber’s board of director reviewed and agreed to all proposals made by an external investigation by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder into the company’s toxic workplace culture.
Michael’s exit is the most high-profile removal of an executive at Uber in the wake of the investigation, though it is far from the only one. He will be replaced by David Richter, Uber’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, according to an internal email obtained by the Times.
“David is an extremely talented leader and I have high confidence in his ability to drive the company forward,” Michael wrote in the email.
But with the shakeup, the leadership at the top is extremely bare.
Uber no longer has a COO, CBO, CFO, CMO or SVP of Eng and may temporarily not have a CEO.
From autonomous cars…to autonomous company
Hemal Shah (@hemal) June 12, 2017
Reports have also swirled around Kalanick and whether he will take a leave of absence for three months. No decision has been publicly announced.
Michael’s removal is not that surprising after he became the face of several high-profile scandals at the company.
Years before former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti wrote about her own problems with sexual harassment and discrimination at the company, Michael had suggested at a dinner, where BuzzFeed Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith was in attendance, that Uber should dig up dirt on female journalists who wrote about the company.
At the time, Michael apologized, and Kalanick said that it would never happen. Michael remained at Uber.
The scandals didn’t end. In the wake of Fowler Rigetti’s blog post, more allegations surfaced. Michael had allegedly attended an outing to an escort-karaoke bar on a business trip in Seoul. Michael had allegedly reviewed private medical records of a rape victim that were obtained by Uber’s head of business in Asia, who is now no longer with the company.
It’s not something to be proud about, and yet, Michael’s farewell email is only full of boasts on his accomplishments, such as claiming to have built a diverse team.
“Beginning with my first day at Uber, I have been committed to building a diverse Business Team that would be widely recognized as the best in the technology world: one that is welcoming to people of all genders, sexual orientations, national origins and educational backgrounds,” Michael wrote.
This isn’t the only big change to come after the Holder investigation. The board apparently accepted all proposals, which will be presented at the company’s weekly all-hands meeting Tuesday.