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More Bad News for Uber

UberThis is not a good couple of weeks for Uber, and particularly, for CEO Travis Kalanick. After about 8 months on the job, Gautam Gupta, the head of finance will leave, continuing the stream of departures. Last week, the company terminated Anthony Levandowski because of disputes over trade secrets from his previous employer, Alphabet.

In an email to staff, Gupta wrote, "As I leave, Uber will begin the search for a CFO to lead the finance team. This role is critical to writing the next chapter at Uber." By some reports, Uber will have a difficult time recruiting a CFO; the position has been open since 2015. Part of the difficulty lies in questions about the company's business practices; the Financial Times reports an example:

Uber’s bookkeeping and pricing practices have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, as Uber announced a refund of tens of millions of dollars to drivers in New York earlier this month, which it said was due to a calculation error.

These departures bring the total to almost a dozen, just as Kalanick is trying to change his personal image. Sadly, he lost his mother this week in a boating accident, and his father was injured. 

Discussion:

  • Some question whether Kalanick should remain as CEO as the company goes through an IPO. What do you think?
  • What would you consider to be the attractions and drawbacks to the CFO position? In other words, what personal and professional advantages and risks should someone consider before taking the job?