CEO and Co-founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick steps down as Uber CEO, company spokesperson confirms on 21st June, 2017. This comes after intense pressure from investors. According to reports, this has since been brewing for about 5 years when majority shareholders wanted him to step down due to bad PR he has been bringing for the company over the years.
“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investor’s request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted by another fight.” Said Travis Kalanick to The New York Times. Since company establishment in 2009, Kalanick has managed to take the company to its current market value of $68 billion.
The year 2017 hasn’t been however very favourable for the ride-hailing company, under Kalanick’s leadership, the company managed to draw federal attention leading to investigations by former US Attorney General Eric Holder looking into employee claims of sexual harassment, suspicious workplace culture and practices.
In just a week ago on June 13, 2017, Kalanick announced he was taking indefinite leave to grieve for his recently deceased mother only to find out that he is not returning and the company is on a mission to clean up their act following the statement released on 20th June 2017 highlighting their ‘180 Days of Change’ strategy trying to restore what has been lost from users, staff, drivers and the public at large.
2017 Debacles Reviewed
Only to mention a few, January 2017, the company has been going under fire which one of them led to #DeleteUber movement that didn’t do any good for the brand even though they have since maintained statements that the initiative that led to this campaign was coming from a good place with good intentions. This then was followed by an incident back in March when Travis was caught on camera backlashing a driver.
Employee departures which saw Sherif Marakby leave just after a year of joining Uber and Levandowski leave the company on implicating allegations and many other self destructing activities brought about by the same people who are supposed to be protecting the company’s good standing.
Uber remained the market leader for so long since 2009 taking to over 60 countries. The emergence of on-demand rides has become a popular business venture as we saw other new companies like Sidecar, Lyft and Postmates offering the same services as Uber.
Unfortunately competition is intense within this industry and that has been evident when we saw Sidecar closing down at the end of 2015 proving how difficult it is to breakthrough.
Question is, will the ‘180 Days of Change’ save Uber from the dungeons?
As previously stated, emerging markets such as these are very attractive to competition and every party is seemingly gunning to get ahead of the competition and like any industry, there are a few market leaders. Maintaining that position is a challenge when other competitors keep up and wait for you to make mistakes. Even if Uber wanted to sort their problems out, at this stage they have lost out big time and will need a miracle to redeem their public image.
This is however good news for competitors like Lyft, as people often search for the next best thing. Reports show that Lyft has since started to benefit from spiraling sandals by Uber, the moment Uber values became questionable. Lyft President, John Zimmer is quoted saying, “we’re not the nice guys, we’re better boyfriends” and from this we can all agree that they are simply telling the riders to start switching to Lyft and statistics show that Uber has lost more than 200 000 user in January alone, how much more over the months due to ongoing mess-ups.
To make matters worse. Lyft is intensifying its position, we’ve seen them donating to American Civil Liberties Union same week Uber was losing some of its users,straight up creating awareness letting riders know that they are the best alternative. According to research, Lyft now holds 40% market share and still aiming for top-rider app position.
It is hard as it is to maintain market leader position and if like Uber dealing with angry drivers, troubles with the law, profit losses and disgruntled riders, only a miracle can save them and we will keep following how the ‘180 Days of Change’ strategy takes them, only hoping that it is not too late for the on-demand ride company to redeem their once favourable position.