Uber's former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick told a number of people that he's planning on "Steve Jobs-ing" the current situation that saw him resign his role at the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing giant that he founded in 2009, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday. The comment is a reference to the late Apple co-founder's career path that led him to leave the CEO post at the tech giant's Cupertino headquarters in 1985 before making a high-profile return in 1997 when his younger company NeXT was acquired by Apple for the 2017 equivalent of more than $640 million. It's currently unclear whether Kalanick simply implied that he's planning to return to Uber in a more active role or if he's interested in mimicking Jobs's journey more closely and founding another company with an overlapping audience with the goal of having it acquired by Uber in the future. Likewise, there's presently no indication of how long is Kalanick planning to be absent from the firm's executive management lineup.
The report on Kalanick's comments comes amidst what's widely perceived as the largest crisis in Uber's history, with the company currently being in the middle of a major legal battle with Alphabet's Waymo which sued it over supposed trade secret theft and being criticized on a variety of other fronts, many of which are related to its supposed predatory corporate culture. Uber is currently said to be at an advanced stage of its search for a new top executive that's meant to help the company bounce back from its recent issue and transition to a more sustainable business model in the future. Kalanick is still on the firm's board and — together with his close associates — holds the majority of voting powers, in addition to being deeply involved in the search for a new CEO, previous reports indicated.
Uber was already publicly rejected by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and its shortlist of candidates now only consist of male tech executives, industry sources said earlier this month. The tech giant is reportedly planning to conclude its search by September, hoping to tempt one of its top picks with the possibility of a once-in-a-lifetime payout that they would receive if Uber was to ever go public.