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Former Uber CEO Kalanick severs ties with ride-hailing giant – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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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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RBC warns house price correction could be deepest in decades | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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A housing correction, which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market, could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.

New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.

Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.

In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.

Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.

That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.

“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”

The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.

In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.

“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”

While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”

The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.

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Commuters face GO transit cancellations, possible strike – CityNews

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Canada Revenue Agency plans email blitz to get Canadians to cash outstanding cheques worth $1.4-billion – The Globe and Mail

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The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is planning a massive e-mail notification campaign to reach Canadians across the country who have uncashed cheques worth a net $1.4-billion.

The e-mail notifications will target recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial and territorial programs, as well as recipients of the GST/HST credits and the Alberta Energy Tax Refund.

The CRA said it plans to send approximately 25,000 e-mails in August, another 25,000 in November and a further 25,000 e-mails by May, 2023.

However, even without receiving an e-mail notification, the agency said a taxpayer can check if they have a cheque by logging into My Account, a secure portal on its website to check if they have an uncashed cheque over a period of six months. It added that representatives can also view uncashed cheques of their clients.

Each year, the CRA said it issues millions of payments to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits. These payments are issued by either direct deposit or by cheque.

“Over time, payments can remain uncashed for various reasons, such as the taxpayer misplacing the cheque or even a change of address which did not allow for delivery,” the agency said in a statement.

The CRA said since the e-mail notification initiative was first launched in February, 2020, about two million uncashed cheques valued at $802-million were redeemed by May 31, 2022.

The average amount per uncashed cheque is $158 with some of them dating as far back as 1998, the agency said.

As of May, 2022, there were an estimated 8.9 million uncashed cheques with the CRA. In May, 2019, about five million Canadians had an estimated 7.6 million uncashed cheques.

“As government cheques never expire or stale date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and re-issue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer,” the statement read. “These upcoming e-notifications are to encourage taxpayers to cash any cheques they have in their possession.”

The agency said taxpayers can register for the direct deposit option on its website to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.

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