Uber Technologies’ CEO Travis Kalanick, 40, has stepped down from his role. He will continue to serve on the board of directors. Five of the major shareholders in the company – Benchmark Capital, Fidelity, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures, demanded the CEO’s resignation.
Kalanick co-founded Uber in 2009 and led it to be the largest U.S. ride-hailing service and among the biggest globally. Prior to Uber, he co-founded Red Swoosh in 2001 that specialized in file-sharing technology and managed to sell it to Akamai Technologies for nearly $19 million in 2007. Before Red Swoosh, he co-founded Scour with his UCLA batch mates in 1998 which offered an Internet search engine and file-sharing services.
How to structure the leadership of large corporations – and specifically whether to split or combine the roles of Chairman and CEO – remains an active and often controversial question.
Under recent shareholder pressure, Walt Disney Company preemptively amended its corporate governance guidelines to require the board of directors to provide annual justification whenever the roles are combined, as they currently are. At Disney and an increasing number of major corporations, the board is obligated to revisit the structure question on a regular basis.