Jun 21, 2017

Richard Branson doesn't want Uber CEO job

Ina Fried / Axios

Speaking at a Sprint event on Wednesday, Virgin Group chief Richard Branson said he has offered Uber a suggestion on who should be its next chief. "We'll see whether he gets the job," Branson said, without naming his choice.

Who will be Uber's next chief has become the biggest question in the tech industry, after Travis Kalanick resigned Tuesday night, under pressure from investors.

Branson, meanwhile, praised Kalanick.

"He's created something really special," Branson said. "He's obviously made some mistakes," Branson said, but added that is something that happens when you are building a company quickly. Other executives on a panel were less forgiving of Kalanick, holding him to account for the company's many issues.

"Culture matters," said Bo Ghirardelli, CEO of Skysthelimit.org. "People matter."

That was echoed by author and writer Luvvie Ajai. "I would tell the Uber CEO to listen to black women,"

Jamie Siminoff, CEO of smart doorbell maker Ring had practical advice for Uber, suggesting the company focus on the good it is doing, including keeping many potential drunk drivers off the road.

"I can't understand why they don't talk about that and make it the mission," he said. The mission doesn't excuse a bad culture, Siminoff told Axios afterwards, but part of the path forward could be about refocusing on the good work it can do and the lives it is saving every day. "Nobody talks about that. It's crazy."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,237,420 — Total deaths: 67,260 — Total recoveries: 252,944Map.
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  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Employees still going to work face temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
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Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

Illinois governor: "The president does not understand the word 'federal'"

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."