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With Uber in the midst of an out-of-control whirlwind of bad press, CEO Travis Kalanick has turned to meditation to help him think differently and make better decisions, according to board member Arianna Huffington.
“Literally, it was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and [Kalanick] said, ‘I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now,'” Huffington said on Wednesday, according to CNBC. But Uber does not have meditation rooms, so Kalanick went “into a lactation room that happened to be open,” Huffington said.
“This is part of the change coming,” Huffington continued, perhaps referring to a day when Kalanick would be able to meditate somewhere other than a lactation room.
Huffington, who never misses a chance to praise the benefits of sleep, and even wrote an entire book on the subject, also said Kalanick has “started recognizing how differently he made decisions when he had gotten enough sleep.”
However you feel about meditation and sleep, a change in Uber’s management thinking seems necessary in light of recent developments.
On Tuesday, news broke that Uber had fired more than 20 employees as part of its internal investigation into sexual harassment and other bad behavior at the company. This investigation by outside law firm Perkins Coie started in February after a former employee, Susan Fowler, alleged in a personal blog post that she was sexually harassed and experienced gender bias during her time at Uber.
Then on Wednesday, reports from various news outlets said Uber has fired the head of its business in Asia amid a controversy over his alleged acquisition of a rape victim’s medical records. That exec, Eric Alexander, had obtained the victim’s medical records and showed them to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael, the company’s VP of business, according Recode, which first reported the news.
These add to the torrent of questions Uber management is facing about its actions, including using a secret tool to evade authorities, and using another secret piece of software called “Hell” to track drivers of Lyft, its biggest competitor in the US.
Additional reporting by Biz Carson.