With Travis Kalanick gone, Uber could boost morale by giving employees liquidity

Key Points
  • Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick long resisted driver tipping and an IPO.
  • With Kalanick gone, Uber could boost employee morale and attract workers easier by fast-tracking an IPO.
  • Alternatively, the company could loosen its "draconian" rules on private share sales by insiders.
Travis Kalanick, co-founder and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies.
Udit Kulshrestha | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick long resisted two things: Approving tips that would boost the income of Uber drivers, and making it easy for Uber employees to get rich by selling shares in the company.

"Uber has the most draconian stock-transfer rules in Silicon Valley," says Barrett Cohn, founder and managing director of Scenic Advisement, which arranges such sales. And the company has steadfastly resisted an IPO, instead opting to raise billions in private capital, even as its revenues surpassed $3 billion last year.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Uber said it would introduce tipping. And on Tuesday night, Travis Kalanick stepped down.

With Kalanick out of the way, Uber could go a long way toward boosting morale by giving employees more liquidity.

He leaves behind a company with a huge potential legal bill, and whose ranks have been depleted in the wake of two inquiries that uncovered widespread sexual harassment and other alleged violations of federal workplace rules.

The next CEO faces a stiff challenge trying to fill those ranks.

Making it easier for current and prospective employees to cash in on their efforts would help.

It might also improve relations with early investors who've been thwarted from getting some liquidity for their stakes.