Today’s Pickup: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick steps down

Good day,

Facing increasing pressure from investors, Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down Tuesday night from the $70 billion ride-sharing and transportation company. Kalanick had taken an indefinite leave of absence last week following a report from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that found the company’s culture to be a problem.

“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,” Kalanick told the New York Times.

Uber has faced a number of issues in the past year, including the allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination first made by former engineer Susan Fowler in blog post. In February, Google’s Waymo division sued Uber, claiming that the start-up stole proprietary self-driving car technology. Kalanick also apologized after yelling at an Uber driver earlier this year and just last week, a board member made an inappropriate comment to Arianna Huffington that was caught on audio. He resigned.

At least 9 executives have resigned this year for various reasons. For a full timeline of Uber’s year of turmoil, click here.

Did you know?

44,388 truck and bus drivers tested positive for marijuana in 2016 according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. An additional 35,421 failed tests due to amphetamines. Overall, the industry’s failed test rate was 1.98%.


“The excessive 12-percent federal excise tax on heavy trucks adds tens of thousands of dollars to truck purchases and directly impacts the cost of food, consumer goods and other products Americans need. Even worse, truck owners large and small pay this tax whether a truck is driven 100,000 miles or never driven at all, forcing them to pay taxes on an investment that may not be generating any revenue.

– U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-CA

In other news:

Bill to repeal federal excise tax on trucks introduced

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives would repeal the 12% federal excise tax on new truck purchases. The “Heavy Truck, Tractor and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2017,” has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. (CCJ)

Truckers continue to fail drug tests

The percentage of truck drivers failing drug tests  climbed last year to 1.98%, up from 1.85% in 2015, according to a new report. Marijuana was the most frequent drug causing the failed tests. (Transport Topics)

Logistics spending drops

For the first time since 2010, U.S. logistics spending has declined. The year-over-year decline was 1.5% in 2016, but logistics as a percentage of GDP fell to its lowest level since the Great Depression, 7.5%. (DC Velocity)

Crude oil prices tumble

The price of a barrel of crude oil fell below $43 yesterday as market pressures and oversupply continues to push down the price of oil. (CNBC)

Foreign investment key to infrastructure plan says White House

To make good on the promise of $800 billion in investment in the nation’s infrastructure, the White House says that foreign investment will be critical. (The Hill)

Final Thoughts

With Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down, the company that started as a disruptive company to taxis before moving into other areas, including self-driving trucks, is now being disrupted itself. Investor pressure and a series of high-profile executive departures in recent months has slowed the momentum the company had built. Where it goes from here will depend on who replaces Kalanick and their overall vision for the company going forward.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.