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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.”
© 2019 The Canadian Press
Banks moved alleged dirty money despite red flags: Reports – Aljazeera.com
Several global banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over a period of nearly two decades, despite red flags about the origins of the money, BuzzFeed and other media have reported, citing confidential documents submitted by banks to the United States government.
The series of news reports on Sunday was partly based on documents, called suspicious activity reports (SARs), filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The SARs, which the reports said numbered more than 2,100, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations.
In all, the ICIJ reported that the files contained information about more than $2 trillion worth of transactions between 1999 and 2017, which were flagged by internal compliance departments of financial institutions as suspicious. The SARs are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing.
The unchecked movement of dirty money may not register as an immediate threat – especially given the coronavirus pandemic and all that 2020 has delivered.
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) September 20, 2020
Five global banks appeared most often in the documents – HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), the ICIJ reported.
A bank has a maximum of 60 days to file SARs after the date of the initial detection of a reportable transaction, according to the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Delay in reporting
The ICIJ report said that in some cases, the banks failed to report suspect transactions until years after they had processed them.
The SARs also showed that banks often moved funds for companies that were registered in offshore havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, and did not know the ultimate owner of the account, the report said.
Among the types of transactions highlighted by the report: funds processed by JPMorgan for potentially corrupt individuals and companies in Venezuela, Ukraine and Malaysia; money from a Ponzi scheme moving through HSBC; and money linked to a Ukrainian billionaire processed by Deutsche Bank.
In a statement to Reuters news agency, HSBC said “all of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical”.
The bank said that as of 2012, “HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions.”
Standard Chartered said in a statement to Reuters, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes.”
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BNY Mellon told Reuters it could not comment on specific SARs.
“We fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and assist authorities in the important work they do,” the bank said.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said in a statement to BuzzFeed that “thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars are devoted to helping support law enforcement and national security efforts”.
Deutsche Bank said in a statement on Sunday that to the “extent that information referenced by the ICIJ is derived from SARs, it should be noted that this is information that is pro-actively identified and submitted by banks to governments pursuant to the law.”
FinCEN said in a statement on its website on September 1 that it was aware that various media outlets intended to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed SARs, as well as other documents, and said that the “unauthorized disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States”.
Representatives for the US Treasury did not immediately respond to an email for comment on Sunday.
Reuters news agency
Second AstraZeneca volunteer reportedly suffers rare neurological condition, but UK company says it’s not related to vaccine – RT
Two people have fallen ill during the trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in the UK, the company’s internal papers revealed, and a source said they had both suffered from the same serious neurological disorder.
The company published details of the trials on Saturday, after facing criticism over the lack of transparency surrounding the testing of the much-anticipated vaccine against the virus, which has so far infected more than 30.8 million people and caused over 958,000 fatalities worldwide.
The first participant of the British trials – which are being conducted in conjunction with Oxford University – fell ill after receiving one dose of the experimental vaccine in July.
The female volunteer was later diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the spinal cord, causing weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic nervous-system dysfunction. The company’s spokeswoman later told the media the volunteer had undiagnosed multiple sclerosis, and the trials resumed.
The second female recipient of the vaccine suffered complications after the follow-up dose in September. AstraZeneca didn’t confirm her diagnosis, but a source told the New York Times it was also transverse myelitis.
On September 6, trials of the drug were paused again, after the second woman felt ill, but they resumed in Britain, Brazil, India, and South Africa less than a week later. The US hasn’t yet green-lighted the continuation of the test, however.
AstraZeneca, which has administered its vaccine to some 18,000 people worldwide, said in internal documents that the two cases of the illness were “unlikely to be associated with the vaccine, or there was insufficient evidence to say for certain that the illnesses were or were not related to the vaccine.”
Transverse myelitis is a serious and rare disease, and its repeated cases among the participants of the trials may well see AstraZeneca losing its vaccine bid all together.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a monkey adenovirus that shares a gene with the Covid-19 coronavirus. It’s an untested method of vaccine development, according to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the Russian vaccine development.
Unlike AstraZeneca’s jab, Russia’s Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine, uses human adenoviruses as a vector – an extensively studied approach.
Earlier this month, respected British medical journal The Lancet published the Russian Ministry of Health’s Sputnik V study, showing the vaccine to be 100 percent effective, producing antibodies in all 76 participants of early-stage trials.
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Tesla Driver Caught Going 100 MPH While Fast Asleep – CarBuzz
“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull told CBC News. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before, but of course the technology wasn’t there.”
When the officer tried to pull the Model S driver over, traffic cleared out of its lane, causing the car to automatically accelerate up to 150 kph (93 mph). Needless to say, pulling him over was an uphill battle.
Eventually, though, the officer managed to issue a ticket for speeding and suspend the driver’s license for 24 hours for fatigue. Further investigation led to the driver being charged with dangerous driving and being summoned to court in December.
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