Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, December 24, 2019 9:44PM EST
NEW YORK – Travis Kalanick, who built Uber into a ride-hailing giant, only to be ousted as CEO over the company’s sexist “bro” culture, is cashing out.
Kalanick disclosed Tuesday that he has sold off all his Uber stock – estimated at more than $2.5 billion – and is resigning from the board of directors, severing ties to the company he co-founded a decade ago.
“Uber has been a part of my life for the past 10 years. At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” the 43-year-old entrepreneur said in a statement.
Uber, based in San Francisco, transformed the way people get around and how they make a living, too, turbocharging the gig economy and undermining the taxi industry. Its nearly 4 million drivers around the globe have logged 15 billion trips since 2010, when Kalanick and Garrett Camp came up with the idea of hailing a ride from a smartphone after a trip to Paris when they couldn’t find a taxi.
But Kalanick was fired as CEO in the summer of 2017 with the company mired in lawsuits.
Uber under Kalanick grew with incredible speed, but like a number of other tech startups, it ran into trouble with a corporate culture that appeared at times to be spinning out of control. Before his ouster as chief executive, Kalanick acknowledged he needed to “fundamentally change and grow up.”
His career at Uber seemed to fit a certain pattern seen in Silicon Valley: The brash and disruptive personalities who are great at creating startups can be ill-suited for the corner office when the company reaches maturity. Sometimes “adult supervision” in the form of experienced executives has to be brought in.
In one of the Uber’s biggest scandals, Kalanick was accused of presiding over a workplace environment that allowed rampant sexual harassment.
A former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, levelled sexual harassment and sexism allegations in a 2017 blog post, saying a boss – not Kalanick – had propositioned her and higher-ups had ignored her complaints. Kalanick called the accusations “abhorrent” and hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate. Holder recommended reducing Kalanick’s responsibilities.
After multiple investigations, Uber fired 20 employees accused of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation against those who complained. This month, the company paid $4.4 million to settle a federal investigation over workplace misconduct.
The problems went beyond employee relations.
Waymo, the self-driving car company spun off from Google, sued Uber in 2017, alleging a top manager at Google stole pivotal technology from the company before leaving to run Uber’s self-driving car division.
Uber also gained a reputation under Kalanick for running roughshod over regulators, launching in markets before officials were able to draft rules and regulations to keep the ride-hailing business in check.
During Kalanick’s tenure, The New York Times revealed that Uber used a phoney version of its app to thwart authorities in cities where it was operating illegally. Uber’s software identified regulators who were posing as riders and blocked access to them. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating.
“Many investors will be glad to see this dark chapter in the rear view mirror,” Dan Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities, said in a note to investors.
Kalanick, through a spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed Tuesday.
Kalanick is not alone among visionary tech entrepreneurs who have stumbled after building startups from nothing.
Tesla founder Elon Musk has had too loose a grip on his Twitter habit and has been fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors with a tweet. He was also sued for defamation, but ultimately cleared, for going on Twitter and calling a British cave explorer “pedo guy” – short for “pedophile.”
Adam Neumann, the former CEO of WeWork, recently stepped aside after the workplace-sharing company cancelled its initial public offering amid concerns about his judgment, including his use of WeWork stock to secure a $500 million personal loan.
After Kalanick’s ouster, former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was brought on as Uber’s chief executive to clean up its image and steer the company to its stock market debut in May. But Uber’s stock floundered and fell almost 11% in its first day of trading as a public company. It has tumbled more than 30% since.
“Let’s call it like it is: Uber stock has been a nightmare since the IPO coming out of the gates,” Ives said.
Kalanick had been one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, owning 9% of the company at the time of the IPO.
Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Navigant Research, said it was not surprising Kalanick sold his stake.
“He, like everyone else, probably realizes now that Uber and its competitors are unlikely to reach sustainable profitability in the foreseeable future,” Abuelsamid said. “Automated vehicles are not the saviour for ride hailing and won’t be mainstream for many years. With that in mind, his Uber stake is probably as valuable as it will get for a long time, if not forever.”
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FDA says kid-sized Pfizer vaccine doses appear highly effective, safe – CBC.ca
U.S. health regulators said late Friday that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the country weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.
The Food and Drug Administration posted its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of a public meeting next week to debate whether the shots are ready for the nation’s roughly 28 million children ages 5 to 11. The agency will ask a panel of outside vaccine experts to vote on that question.
In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that in almost every scenario the vaccine’s benefit for preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children. But agency reviewers stopped short of calling for Pfizer’s shot to be authorized.
The agency will put that question to its panel of independent advisers next Tuesday and weigh their advice before making its own decision.
U.S. children could begin vaccinations next month
If the FDA authorizes the shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make additional recommendations on who should receive them the first week of November. Children could begin vaccinations early next month — with the first youngsters in line fully protected by Christmas.
Full-strength Pfizer shots already are recommended for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.
WATCH | Pfizer releases clinical trial data for COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11:
The FDA review affirmed results from Pfizer posted earlier in the day showing the two-dose shot was nearly 91 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in young children. Researchers calculated the figure based on 16 COVID-19 cases in youngsters given dummy shots versus three cases among vaccinated children. There were no severe illnesses reported among any of the youngsters, but the vaccinated ones had much milder symptoms than their unvaccinated counterparts.
Most of the study data was collected in the U.S. during August and September, when the delta variant had become the dominant COVID-19 strain.
No new side effects
The FDA review found no new or unexpected side effects, which mostly consisted of sore arms, fever or achiness that teens experience.
However, FDA scientists noted that the study wasn’t large enough to detect extremely rare side effects, including myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation that occasionally occurs after the second dose.
The agency used statistical modelling to try to predict how many hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 the vaccine would prevent versus the number of potential heart side effects it might cause. In four scenarios of the pandemic, the vaccine clearly prevented more hospitalizations than would be expected from the heart side effect. Only when virus cases were extremely low would the vaccine cause more hospitalizations than it would prevent. But overall, regulators concluded that the vaccine’s protective benefits “would clearly outweigh” its risks.
While children run a lower risk of severe illness or death than older people, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans 18 and under, according to the CDC. Nearly 6.2 million children have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks as the delta variant surged, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
The Biden administration has purchased enough kid-size doses — in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from adult vaccine — for the nation’s 5- to 11-year-olds. If the vaccine is cleared, millions of doses will be promptly shipped around the country, along with kid-size needles.
More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers already have signed up to get the shots into little arms.
Edward Rogers’ role as Blue Jays chair unchanged amid changes atop RCI – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO — Edward Rogers’ roles as chair of the Toronto Blue Jays and control person with Major League Baseball are unaffected by this week’s manoeuvrings that led to his removal as board chair of parent company Rogers Communications Inc., according to two industry sources.
Whether fallout from the power struggle atop the telecom giant, which also owns Sportsnet, might eventually reach the club is unclear. Last week, Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said the team was “about a month away” from presenting its off-season plan during a final payroll meeting with ownership, and expressed confidence that its long-term strategic objectives would remain on track.
“Every indication I’ve received and every indication that we’ve been shown … leads me to believe that we will stay on plan and the payroll will continue to rise despite the fact that we’re still lagging behind a little bit in revenues due to (the pandemic),” Shapiro said.
Those comments came before news broke that John MacDonald, a member of the Rogers Board of Directors since 2012, had assumed the chairman role in place of Edward Rogers, who according to media reports had sought to oust company CEO Joe Natale.
Edward Rogers is now seeking to replace five board members.
At this point, the sources said the developments aren’t expected to impact a winter of opportunity for the Blue Jays, who are seeking to augment a club that missed the post-season by one game and are about to see top performers Marcus Semien, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz hit free agency.
Shapiro is close with Edward Rogers, who as chair is the top officer of the club. He is also the control person, a role each of the 30 MLB teams assigns to represent the interests of that ownership.
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