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Amid scrutiny, Uber faces shake-up in policy and executives




Uber, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing service has been dealt a legal setback in its effort to settle a multi-million dollar claim by drivers who say they should be reclassified as employees, not independent contractors. On Thursday, a federal judge rejected Uber's $100 million settlement offer.
Uber, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing service has been dealt a legal setback in its effort to settle a multi-million dollar claim by drivers who say they should be reclassified as employees, not independent contractors. On Thursday, a federal judge rejected Uber's $100 million settlement offer.
Eric Risberg/AP

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Uber is in the middle of big changes that could see its controversial CEO stepping aside.

The ride-share company has been under fire for a variety of missteps - everything from using technology to trick regulators to paying drivers less than they are owed.

But after a former employee wrote a detailed account of how she was sexually harassed at the company, Uber hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to recommend changes.

Yesterday the Uber board met here in Los Angeles and voted to accept all his recommendations.

Adam Lashinsky is the author of the book Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination. He spoke to Take Two's A Martinez for the latest scrutiny on the company.

On the company culture of Uber

"Well, this is a company that was born in controversy; that has been aggressive and has broken rules as part of its corporate culture. This is in its DNA. It started that way. One would assume that the report will say that that led to a culture of permissiveness; that asks people to work harder than they do at other companies; that doesn't treat people well; that doesn't treat women well; that doesn't treat partners well; that doesn't treat regulators well and so on."

On Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick

"Travis Kalanick is from the Los Angeles area. Born in Northridge. Went to UCLA. Dropped out of school to do a start-up. He has a reputation for having a tireless work ethic and also for being ruthless. And for sort of [the attitude that], 'I don't care what other people say. This is what we're doing.'

I have described Travis Kalanick as Uber's greatest asset and its greatest liability, simultaneously. He is the person that built Uber into the global force that it is. He is the person that has presided over a corporate culture that has brought so much criticism on one company. I would say almost unprecedented in any company I've looked at and certainly any young company like this." 

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.

Answers have been edited for clarity.