It is a bit startling to hear a 40-year-old man say that it is time for him to grow up. But that is what Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, implied in an email to Uber employees on Tuesday when he said it was time to “work on Travis 2.0.”
Better late than never?
Mr. Kalanick also said he plans to take an indefinite leave from Uber as the company tries to work its way back from months of scandal and the damning conclusions of an investigation into its culture.
A bigger concern to many people is whether Uber can work on Uber 2.0. It is already a giant — if undisciplined — company, privately valued at $70 billion and with about 14,000 employees. A report prepared by Eric H. Holder Jr., the former United States attorney general, indicated that Uber simply has not created the mature processes and basic rules of behavior that keep a large company from falling apart.
This is, of course, an outfit where employees have been asked to subscribe to 14 core values, including “always be hustlin’.” So maturity has not necessarily been a requisite virtue for new hires.
“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here, rests on my shoulders,” Mr. Kalanick wrote in his email. “There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve.”
If and when Mr. Kalanick returns, the employees and drivers who depend on Uber for their livelihoods will be looking for signs that he and his company have finally emerged from Peter Pan’s Neverland.
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