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Uber's solution to leadership woes may be a second-in-command

Travis Kalanick reportedly wants a No. 2 that can make crucial decisions.
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VCG via Getty Images

Uber is in a lot of hot water lately between Greyball, sexual harassment claims, a political uproar, an Alphabet lawsuit and CEO Travis Kalanick's own outbursts. How is it supposed to get the ship back on course? If you believe sources speaking to The Information, the ridesharing outfit has a simple solution: hire a No. 2. Kalanick reportedly plans to take on a second-in-command that would "make key decisions" for the company. Think of this person like Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, or Eric Schmidt in Google's pre-Alphabet days -- a second voice that tempers the founder's idealism with some business sense.

The company isn't commenting on the rumor apart from acknowledging Kalanick's recent remarks that he needs to "grow up" and is looking for "leadership help."

If accurate, this may be as much in Kalanick's interest as anything else. A second in command might silence some of those calling for the CEO to quit, reassuring them that the company's success or failure isn't solely attributable to him. The upshot, of course, is that this might help Uber avoid making some decisions it regrets later. You won't necessarily see a dramatically kinder and gentler Uber, but it may find itself in trouble less often than before.

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