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Uber co-founder and former CEO to resign from company’s board

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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 four 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, leveled 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 phony 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 canceled 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 per cent in its first day of trading as a public company. It has tumbled more than 30 per cent 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 per cent 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 savior 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.”

Source: – Global News

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Why BlackBerry (TSX:BB) Stock Just Soared 40% – The Motley Fool Canada

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BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) stock popped 40% on Monday morning. This is the highest increase in the tech company’s share price in nearly a decade. Let’s take a look at what could have driven this rally and if more upside is to come.

BlackBerry stock has tripled in value year to date

BlackBerry stock was trading at nearly $25 a share when the Toronto Stock Exchange opened on Monday, up more than $7 or more than 40% from Friday’s level. The company now has a market cap over $13 billion.

BlackBerry stock has been rallying for several days before skyrocketing on Monday. At the start of 2021, the company was worth just over $8 per share. It is now worth about three times as much.

This rally doesn’t seem to be explained by fundamental changes in the business. BlackBerry has had a number of good news in recent weeks, but nothing that would explain the share price rise on Monday. The movement is most likely driven by investors’ enthusiasm, according to experts.

On October 16, BlackBerry announced its partnership with Zoom. Zoom will use BlackBerry Dynamics cybersecurity software from BlackBerry in its mobile platform to protect businesses from cyberattacks and data breaches. BlackBerry Dynamics software also provides secure video conferencing, which BlackBerry believes will become more and more necessary as businesses move away from in-person meetings.

BlackBerry signed last month a deal with Amazon to work on connected cloud software for cars. Earlier this month, it was reported that BlackBerry had sold 90 patents to Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. BlackBerry owns more patents than any other company in Canada, many of which are applicable to smartphones that BlackBerry will no longer focus on.

Although BlackBerry is moving away from smartphones, BlackBerry announced last August that it would partner with OnwardMobility to help the tech startup produce BlackBerry-branded smartphones with 5G technology. The phones are expected to be released in the first half of this year.

In mid-January, the tech company favourably settled a patent dispute with Facebook.

Enthusiasm about the tech stock is coming back

Those pieces of news might have helped to boost BlackBerry’s stock price to a certain extent, but what could have helped increase the share price further is enthusiasm from retail investors on popular online discussion forums such as Reddit. Other stocks have unexpectedly risen in recent weeks.

The current recovery in the stock market has boosted the valuation of large companies. Investors are now hunting for bargains.

There is a shift in market sentiment about BlackBerry stock. Investors are becoming more bullish about the tech stock outlook. It seems investors are starting to realize the value of what BlackBerry has been working on for the past decade as tangible partnerships have come to fruition.

The company growth prospects look promising. But you might want to wait for a more attractive entry point, as the stock has become overvalued after the strong rally. The forward P/E is close to 200, which is way too high even for a growth stock like BlackBerry. If you own BlackBerry stock, you might want to take some profits off the table before the rally fades out.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Fool contributor Stephanie Bedard-Chateauneuf has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Amazon and Facebook. Tom Gardner owns shares of Facebook and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Facebook, and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry and BlackBerry and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon.

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Couple who chartered plane to get COVID vaccine in Yukon misled about jobs, locals say. Now they face charges — and fury – Caledon Enterprise

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  1. Couple who chartered plane to get COVID vaccine in Yukon misled about jobs, locals say. Now they face charges — and fury  Caledon Enterprise
  2. Former casino CEO, actress identified as couple who flew to Yukon, got COVID-19 vaccines  CBC.ca
  3. Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine  Yukon News
  4. Vancouver CEO and actress charged after sneaking into COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Yukon  Vancouver Sun
  5. Great Canadian Gaming CEO, wife ticketed after allegedly flying to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine  Global News
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being charged in Yukon over attempt to get COVID-19 vaccine – The Globe and Mail

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Rod Baker, former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, in June, 2016.

Great Canadian Gaming

The chief executive officer of Great Canadian Gaming Corp. has stepped down after he and his wife were charged under Yukon’s emergency measures act with breaking quarantine rules and misleading authorities after they were accused of posing as motel workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Court documents say Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker, an actor, were charged under the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act on Jan. 21. The Vancouver couple were each fined $575 for failing to self-isolate for 14 days and for failing to behave in manner consistent with declaration.

“We had not been imagining that someone would go to this sort of length to mislead or deceive the [vaccination] team,” Yukon Minister of Community Services John Streicker said in an interview.

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The gambling and entertainment company announced Mr. Baker’s resignation on Monday, ending a tenure that began in 2011. He also stepped down from the company’s board of directors.

“Great Canadian’s board of directors has no tolerance for actions that run counter to the company’s objectives and values,” read a statement from Chuck Keeling, the company’s vice-president of stakeholder relations.

“Any such actions whatsoever that run contrary to the company’s core values, that do not comply with GCGC’s strict compliance policies in regards to travel, and ensure that the company and its employees follow all health guidance and directions, will not be tolerated.”

The company did not disclose terms of severance for Mr. Baker, who stands to receive more than $28-million from a private-equity fund that is acquiring Great Canadian.

Mr. Streicker said local administrators of the vaccine effort and others told him that a few days before the clinic, two people arrived from outside the territory, where they were obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. The couple checked into a hotel in Whitehorse.

“Fast forward to Thursday the 21st, two days later. What I am told is they chartered a flight. They flew to Beaver Creek. They showed up at the clinic. What they said at the clinic is that they were employed at the local motel,” he said.

The remote hamlet on the Alaskan border has one health clinic staffed by a nurse and a receptionist. A six-person medical team flew in to run the vaccination clinic.

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Chief Angela Demit of the White River First Nation in Beaver Creek said the community was chosen to get the vaccine because of its remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, and limited access to health care.

“These vaccines are for our community members, our citizens here,” Chief Demit said. “It’s alarming and disappointing that something like this happened.”

Rita Luxton, manager of the 1202 Motor Inn, where the two people told clinic staff they worked, expressed anger about the events.

“I risk my life every day to serve [travelling] Americans … but that’s a risk that we take – not a risk that somebody enforces upon us because they’re too ignorant,” she said.

Clinic staff knew something was off last Thursday, Ms. Luxton said.

“They phoned over here and asked if those people work here, which they don’t,” Ms. Luxton said. “I don’t think a $500 fine is going to give any kind of justice to anybody because the guy can obviously afford to charter a Goddamned plane.”

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Caulene May said the pilot of the small charter plane radioed in to her tiny airstrip saying he was landing there in about 10 minutes because it was too foggy to continue north.

The pilot sat in her small lounge while the two passengers caught a short ride into town, Ms. May said. Two hours later, they trudged the kilometre back to the airfield and the plane took off for Whitehorse, she said.

Mr. Streicker said the two people asked if someone could take them to the airport after they were vaccinated, which “raised flags” with the vaccination team. They called the enforcement unit for the Civil Emergency Measures Act.

Members of the unit found the charter flight from Beaver Creek at the Whitehorse airport and went to the hotel where the couple were staying. On learning the pair had checked out, they returned to the airport and found them waiting for a flight to Vancouver.

“They found these two individuals in the boarding lounge, and that’s when they got charged,” he said.

The Bakers did not respond to several attempts by The Globe to contact them. A call on Monday to Ms. Baker’s personal cell and an e-mail account listed on her IMDb page were not answered. Her agent in Toronto said she would pass along The Globe’s request for comment.

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Ms. Baker had a small role in an action comedy starring Alec Baldwin released last year and had a larger role in a crime drama with Morgan Freeman listed as in production, according to her IMDb page.

Mr. Baker had a $900,000 annual salary as of 2019, according to the most recent disclosure from Great Canadian Gaming. From Dec. 31, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020, stock-trading records showed he made a profit of $45.9-million exercising 1.45 million Great Canadian Gaming options.

The Toronto-based company operates 25 casinos in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

With a report from David Milstead

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