As measures to battle wide criticism of its culture eroded top level managers , heavyweights overseeing India Division too seem on their way out, threatening the ride-company’s services on India’s roads.
On Tuesday, chief executive Travis Kalanick went on unspecified leave days after, senior vice-president of business Emil Michael and Eric Alexander who heads Asia-Pacific business left amid surge of scandals.
Emil played key role in driving investments to company’s India operations and with him gone Indian business will move out of focus at least in the coming months.
“Emil, Travis and especially Eric were very clued into the India business operations,” said executive at Uber India, declining to be identified.
Travis’s background is such that he does push the limits to achieve growth and that’s the reason they are where they are today but being ethically responsible is important, Pradeep Murthy, partner at Light Box Ventures said.
The cab-hailing company has been battling allegations of widespread mismanagement and oppressive workplace culture especially since former employee Susan Flower in a blog spot in February wrote how the company culture was grotesquely hostile to women and an HR bureaucracy that investigated nothing.
The India Exit Trigger
Under pressure to mend existing culture and mgt. style, Uber retained law firm of former US Attorney Gerneral Eric Holder to look into its culture and practices which turn offered its recommendation.
Discomfort with new work order based on the recommendations resulted in Emil’s exit. The report also triggered reducing Kalanick’s sweeping authority. Alexander was fired after two lawfirms investigating into allegations of widespread sexual harassment at Uber found that he had accessed medical reports of a woman raped by driver in India in December.
The recommendations adopted recently by Uber will also institute more controls over spending, HR, the behaviour of managers, and prohibit intimate relationships at the workplace and issuing stricter guidelines on conducting social events and alcohol consumption.
Uber’s business in India is valued at about $70 million and is a particularly critical market since its exit from China, where it sold its operations to domestic market leader Didi Chuxing.
Uber employs about 400 people in India and has about 4,00,000 drivers in 29 cities. Ola has about 5,00,000 drivers across 110 cities.
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