SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — When Meg Whitman stepped down as chairwoman of Hewlett Packard Inc. there were rumors her next step would be as the new CEO for the troubled ride-hailing service Uber.
Late Thursday, she ended those rumors with postings on Twitter and LinkedIn proclaiming “Uber’s CEO will not be Meg Whitman.”
Uber has been searching for a new CEO since Travis Kalanick resigned under pressure from investors at a pivotal time for the company.
The move came as Uber, the world’s largest ride-hailing company, was having trouble morphing from a free-wheeling startup into a mature company that can stanch losses and post consistent profits. After eight years of phenomenal growth by upending the taxi business, Uber had reached a point where the culture that created the company had become a liability that threatened to kill it.
In a statement, the 40-year-old co-founder said his resignation would help Uber go back to building “rather than be distracted with another fight,” an apparent reference to efforts on the board to oust him.
The resignation came after a series of costly missteps under Kalanick that damaged Uber’s reputation, including revelations of sexual harassment in its offices, allegations of trade secrets theft and a federal investigation into efforts to mislead local government regulators.
Uber lost an expensive battle for supremacy in China against Didi Chuxing and had to be satisfied with taking a stake in Didi as a consolation prize. Uber posted a $708 million first-quarter loss, unable to turn $3.4 billion in revenue into a profit. The loss narrowed from the $991 million it posted in the previous quarter.
Investors have talked about selling stock in Uber to the public, a move that would imply a transition to an established business. The company was valued at near $70 billion the last time it sought capital.