Toppled Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick is looking to win back public favour by hiring a high-profile advisory firm to refresh his tarnished image.
The move to hire New York-based consultancy Teneo follows reports Kalanick is plotting a Steve Jobs-style return to the ride hailing app just weeks after he was ousted by the company’s board, a reference to the late Apple leader who after being fired from the company returned in triumph.
At the time Kalanick said in a statement to the New York Times:
I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.
An Uber spokesperson declined to comment on Kalanick's move to hire Teneo, saying only the search for a new CEO goes on. Kalanick hiring Temeno was first reported by Recode.
Kalanick resigned from the $68bn company he co-founded in June after a tumultuous six months of scandal that climaxed with five of Uber’s largest investors putting pressure on him to leave. He still wields great power at the company however, with a seat on the board and reportedly controlling 10 per cent of shares.
Uber’s hunt for a replacement for Kalanick has so far been fruitless, with high-powered female executives from the worlds of tech and transport reportedly approached to take the wheel of Uber only to distance themselves from the job.
EasyJet boss, set to move to the top job at ITV, Carolyn McCall, billionaire Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and General Motors’ Mary Barra have all been linked to the role but are now no longer thought to be likely hires.
Whitman last month took to Twitter to dispell the rumours.
(3/3) We have a lot of work still to do at HPE and I am not going anywhere. Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman.— Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) July 28, 2017
The short list to lead the world's most valuable private company is now thought to be down to just three candidates, all men. It has been reported that outgoing General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt is among the top candidates, though the other two names remain a mystery.
Uber’s desire to source a female leader stems from ongoing allegations of sexism at the San Francisco-based company.