Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will be taking some time away from the company to grieve his mother, according to a company-wide email he just sent out.
“Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team,” he wrote.
Bonnie Kalanick was killed in a boating accident just weeks ago and her husband — Travis Kalanick’s father — remains in critical condition.
But Kalanick’s decision was also clearly related to what has been revealed in recent months about widespread mismanagement and toxic culture at the car-hailing company under Kalanick’s watch. That he has been able to hold onto his job this long is a testament to the power of a charismatic founder in Silicon Valley.
Kalanick was still deciding whether to take the leave or not as late as this morning, a chaotic management style that has caused much consternation within the top ranks and also with employees caught in an unfortunate cycle of unnecessary drama.
His decision comes as Uber finally unveiled to its staff the recommendations of an investigation law firm Covington & Burling conducted into the company’s culture and management. The investigation was prompted by a former female engineer’s brutal account of sexism and sexual harassment at the company.
The report that Uber’s directors released to employees today at an all-hands meeting now taking place include changing everything from its human resources systems to stopping its incessant party culture (which Recode reported last week in a post about an HR-violation of a memo that Kalanick wrote).
Also among the recommendations that Uber’s board has unanimously voted to accept is a reallocation of Kalanick’s responsibilities, which many felt was a critical part of the turnaround of the company.
“The Board should evaluate the extent to which some of the responsibilities that Mr. Kalanick has historically possessed should be shared or given outright to other members of senior management,” the report reads. “The search for a Chief Operating Officer should address this concern to some extent.”
Uber has yet to name a COO and Kalanick did not put a timeline on how long the leave of absence will last.
In the meantime, Kalanick wrote, his direct reports will be running the company.
The company’s departments will be divvied up thus: Business operations will continue to be run by Rachel Holt in the U.S. and Canada; Andrew Macdonald in Latin America and Asia; and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The company’s product team will be run by Daniel Graf — who recently replaced Ed Baker as head of product — and the engineering team will continue to be headed up by company CTO Thuan Pham.
The chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey and newly hired SVP of leadership and strategy Frances Frei will focus on organizational and cultural changes. Legal will continue to be run by its chief legal officer Salle Yoo, though the company is also searching for a new general counsel.
Eric Meyhofer — who recently took over from controversial executive Anthony Levandowski — will continue to head up Uber’s self-driving efforts.
According to Uber, the long list of Uber’s direct reports will act as a team, even if it sounds a bit of a mess.
“During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly,” he wrote. “It’s hard to put a timeline on this — it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes.”
Here’s the full email:
For the last eight years my life has always been about Uber. Recent events have brought home for me that people are more important than work, and that I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.
The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.
During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions, but I will be empowering them to be bold and decisive in order to move the company forward swiftly.
It’s hard to put a timeline on this - it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes. The incredible outpouring of heartfelt notes and condolences from all of you have kept me strong but almost universally they have ended with ‘How can I help?’. My answer is simple. Do your life’s work in service to our mission. That gives me time with family. Put people first, that is my mom’s legacy. And make Uber 2.0 real so that the world can see the inspired work all of you do, and the inspiring people that make Uber great.
See you soon,
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.