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Holder Investigation Triggers Leave of Absence for CEO, Diminished Role Upon Return

Former Attorney General Eric Holder concluded his investigation into the ride-sharing company after allegations of misconduct.

Uber Kalanick Huffington

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced to staff on Tuesday that he will be taking a leave of absence from the company. Kalanick did not disclose a return date.

This came on the heels of an report, conducted by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that investigated numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The report, available in full here, recommended no less than 47 changes including a total rewrite of Uber’s “cultural values” and prohibitions against employee relationships.

The results of the Holder probe will be conveyed to employees at a staff meeting on Tuesday. One key element of the recommendations: upon Kalanick’s return, his role will be diminished.

Upon Kalanick’s return, the board will move to diminish his role by giving some of the CEO’s job responsibilities to a chief operating officer — a position Uber has been actively recruiting for but has yet to fill. This person would “act as a full partner with the CEO but focus on day-to-day operations, culture and institutions within Uber,” the report said.

Uber lost or removed much of its management team in recent months as scandal after scandal emerged. The 14,000-plus workforce lacks a clear No. 2 who could run things in Kalanick’s stead. Uber has started taking steps to fill out Kalanick’s bench. Last week, it hired Harvard Business School’s Frances Frei as senior vice president of leadership and strategy, and will add Nestle SA’s Wan Ling Martello as an independent director.

Uber board member Arianna Huffintgon released a statement in conjunction with the report that read, in part: “The process was longer than we thought and more painful than we thought, but this chapter comes to an end today. Our task now is to learn, rebuild and move forward together to write Uber’s next chapter.”