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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."

Go deeper

1 dead as severe storms pummel the South

A tree that fell on a home carport damaged a vehicle during a storm in Central, Louisiana. No injuries were reported, according to Central Fire Department. Photo: Central Fire Department/Twitter

Strong storms lashed the South early Saturday, spawning at least one tornado and unleashing powerful winds and hail. And forecasters warned more severe weather was expected to hit parts of the region in the coming hours.

Details: Thousands of customers lost power in Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, according to tracking site poweroutage.us. An F3 tornado that hit St Landry Parish, Louisiana, killed one person and wounded seven others.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.