Can Ex-Uber CEO Make A Steve Jobs-Like Comeback?

muqbil ahmar

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been unceremoniously removed, leaving the corporate world shocked. There are reasons why the ex-Uber Chief could make a comeback. The controversial firing of the Founder CEO has similarities with the dumping of Steve Jobs by Apple board in 1985. Though Apple’s board agreed Steve Jobs was a genius entrepreneur, they considered him too impulsive to run the business of a Fortune 500 company. The replacement brought in changes that saw revenues rise but Apple’s edge and customer experience fade. Apple’s iconic status of creating disruptive ideas and products waned. After Apple came to brink of bankruptcy, the company brought Steve Jobs back as CEO. Apple is now the most valuable brand on the Forbes’ list. Let’s look at 6 reasons why Travis Kalanick could do a Steve Jobs:


The exit leaves a vacuum in the organization. Kalanick was a CEO, COO, CFO, all rolled into one. The resignation leaves Uber without a chief executive, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, or head of engineering. This is how most Founder CEOs function.
Travis Kalanick is still going strong in Uber: Kalanick stays on the board and is one of the main stakeholders. Moreover, according to Wired, Kalanick holds Uber super-voting shares which give him the right to appoint a new majority of the board. If the new management committee fails to retain entrepreneurial edge and Uber starts losing user competitiveness, Kalanick could well be on his way back as Steve Jobs once did. Kalanick continues to enjoy tremendous clout.
Investors may want his return: Uber’s investors claim they want mass culture change to protect the assets and reputation of the company valued at $62.5 billion. If the financials suffer as a result of the ouster, as is being predicted by experts, the very same investors may be forced to eat their words.
Travis Kalanick is a star personality in his own right: investors might find it difficult to separate the persona of Kalanick from the organization. He was a runner-up to Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2015. 
The Harvard Business School held a program that featured top corporate honchos to analyze “Uber’s Keys to Success.” The consensus was that it was Kalanick’s unorthodox ways that was the key for Uber’s access to $8.81 billion of venture capital that raised it to international prominence.
Moreover, the suggested changes will radically alter business relationships that Uber started between the app and its users. The company will now encourage drivers to compete with each other to service best-tipping customers. On the other hand, Uber chief tried to make the experience consistent for all users. This is a fundamental change in approach and may not work for the company.