Uber Considering Leave of Absence for CEO

The board at Uber, the ride-hailing startup, in the face of accusations that its executives turned their back to corporate misbehavior including sexual harassment, moved Sunday to shake the leadership of the company up prior to the release of findings in an investigation on its problematic culture that is due out this week.

The directors at Uber were considering a leave of absence for three months for CEO Travis Kalanick, who built the company into an entity worth over $70 billion, said people close to the board and aware of its agenda.

A board representative at Uber said its directors had voted unanimously to adopt all the recommendations made by Eric Holder Jr. the former attorney general in a report. Holder was retained by the board to conduct an investigation into the company’s culture.

One recommendation made by Holder included Emil Michael, who is a close member of the executive team to Kalanick, leaving.

The moves would pullback Kalanick’s involvement as well as strip him of an important ally, a turnabout for a CEO who has been called a role model and innovator.

The changes also would destabilize further the leadership at the ride-hailing company during a time when its rivals are attempting to take advantage of the woes at the startup.

Kalanick, who is 40, proposed that he take time off last month following an accident while boating that killed his mother and injuring his father.

Given the current circumstances, Kalanick, who has worked almost nonstop since 2009 when Uber was founded, told people he may need to take a break.

If he took a leave, it may be looked at as repudiation for the aggressiveness he brought Uber.

Any lowering in the involvement of Kalanick in Uber, even if just temporary would be quite significant since he molded the company into what it is.

Kalanick had been under scrutiny recently as Uber has attempted to work through scandals, including its employees detailing being sexually harassed and its systematic attempts at evading law enforcement in some cities it is working in.

The meetings held by the board of directors at Uber, preceded the report from Holder’s investigation that is scheduled for a Tuesday release.

Over the past few months, Uber has fired over 20 of its employees for infractions that ranged from discrimination to sexual harassment.

Uber would not comment on the talks taking place by the board, which were taking place in Los Angeles.

Second Straight Stanley Cup Title Cements Penguins Legacy

On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins become the first NHL team to win consecutive Stanley Cup championships since the start of the salary cap era.

That can hurt egos and bruise the pride of players and head coach Mike Sullivan said the team pushes the players hard resulting in it not always being warm and happy in the locker room.

However, all the agony of making that difficult journey was forgotten on Sunday when Pittsburgh beat Nashville 2-0 to win the Stanley Cup Finals thanks in part by superb goaltending by Matt Murray and a late goal by Patric Hornqvist. It is the fifth Stanley Cup title for the franchise.

This team is special. It represents a collection of unique talent and is probably one that should be considered a dynasty. Over the past 10 years, the team has reached five conference finals, played in four Stanley Cup Finals and won three.

With stars like Sidney Crosby as well as Evgeni Malkin the leaders, Pittsburgh can use talent to dominate, but the mental toughness it has, carried the team to two NHL titles the last 12 months.

Sullivan said he does not believe there are two better hockey players today to build a team around than Crosby and Malkin. In this Cup run, the two combined to score 18 goals and 55 total points.

Pittsburgh’s top defenseman Kris Letang was injured and lost for the postseason prior to the start of the playoffs. The Penguins are likely the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup without an elite, big-minute defenseman in 11 years when the Carolina Hurricanes did in 2006.

Crosby is called by many one of the best to ever play hockey and now with his third Stanley Cup title and a pair of Conn Smythe trophies, he has cemented that fact.

Pittsburgh did not like talking about repeating during the season and playoffs, but players had it on their minds. They were aware the last team to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

Now the big question is if the team can win for a third straight season. Top players Malkin, Crosby, Letang and Phil Kessel are signed long term while goalie Murray is a foundation block. Other top players such as Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel are young and getting better each year.

There are a few free agents such as Nick Bonino and Trevor Daley that could leave, but there is an opportunity with this gutsy team to win a third straight Stanley Cup title.