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Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is on the committee desperately seeking his replacement

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick smiles as he addresses a gathering during a conference.
Reuters/Adnan Abibi
Gone but not forgotten.
By Janet Guyon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s not all that unusual for CEOs to set up, or even judge, the competition for his or her replacement. General Electric, for instance, has long had a detailed, orderly process (pdf) for finding its next leader.

But it is a bit odd for a CEO to be deeply involved in the succession process when he’s already been thrown out of his job.

Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from Uber on June 20, is a member of the search committee looking for a new CEO. And as The Wall Street Journal recounts, the search isn’t going so well. Several candidates have already dropped out of the running including Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) and former CEO of eBay.

While some think Whitman would have been a great choice—at 60 she is young enough to take on a new challenge and she clearly has technology chops—sources suggested to the Journal that Whitman didn’t have the support of board member Arianna Huffington, who is Kalanick’s closest ally on the board and is said to want a leader more like him. According to Recode, however, Huffington had been scheduled to meet Whitman, but had not, before the Hewlett CEO pulled her name out of contention.

Uber wants to find a new CEO by Labor Day, a short timeline even without the complication of having a failed CEO on the search committee trying to secure his replacement. CEO searches typically take at least six months and often take longer than that.

The Journal reports that Kalanick, before his ouster, was troublesome in the search for a chief operating officer to work with him, rejecting several candidates before the search was suspended in the wake of his ouster. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be any more helpful in finding the person who will replace him.

Indeed, Kalanick is said to be consolidating power so he can retake an operating role—even that of CEO, the New York Times reported. (paywall)

This story was updated to reflect the fact that Arianna Huffington had not yet met with Meg Whitman.

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