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Emil Michael has stepped down as chief business officer at Uber, as the result of a wide-ranging workplace investigation that was kicked off by allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by a former Uber engineer. Michael was not named in those claims, but the investigation ― led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ― nonetheless determined that he should be removed.

Michael announced the news internally on Monday morning via an email, which added that current SVP of strategic initiatives David Richter will be promoted to SVP of business. Uber itself declined to comment.

Why it matters: Michael has been Uber's second-most powerful executive behind CEO Travis Kalanick, and also is largely credited with much of its fundraising prowess.

Why he's out: It's unclear. There were reports last week that Michael inappropriately viewed a medical file of an Uber passenger in India who was raped by her driver (he's now in prison), which was somehow in the possession of an Uber employee who reported to Michael (and who was fired after the reports came out).

  1. Those same reports suggest Kalanick also viewed the documents, but there was no recommendation by Holder that he lose his job.
  2. The sourcing is anonymous, and a source close to Michael who Axios spoke with says he never viewed the file ― which the same source adds was part of a larger case file prepared by an India law firm at the request of Uber's general counsel.
  3. All of this suggests that Michael's departure is related to prior acts, including a suggestion in 2014 that Uber dig up dirt on a reporter.

Michael signs off his memo by saying: "Uber has a long way to go to achieve all that it can and I am looking forwsrd to seeing what you accomplish in the years ahead."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Instagram's boss faces Congress' questions on harm to teens

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

The head of Instagram will find himself in Congress' crosshairs for the first time Wednesday in the one area lawmakers have shown they are willing to pass tech regulations — protecting youngsters online.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats have found common ground in grilling tech companies on how their products harm children, especially after revelations in The Wall Street Journal about Instagram's potential harm to the mental health of teen girls.

Jan. 6 committee to start contempt proceedings against Meadows

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee plans to move forward with contempt proceedings against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for his refusal to comply with the panel's subpoena.

Why it matters: The committee has used the threat of contempt — and the associated financial and reputational costs — to try to ensure evasive witnesses sit for their depositions.

Complaint to FTC: Amazon search results full of potentially deceiving ads

Photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amazon does not sufficiently distinguish between its search results and paid ads, potentially "deceiving millions of consumers," according to a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Joan Moriarty, research director for the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that filed the complaint, told the Washington Post the group is "very hopeful" that the FTC will investigate the complaint because Lina Khan (D), a known Amazon critic, is now chair.

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