Uber seeks a second-in-command to steady the wheel

Travis Kalanick was the driving force behind Uber, taking a spur-of-moment idea and turning it into the world's most valuable venture-funded tech startup

Uber on Tuesday began searching for a second-in-command to help embattled chief executive Travis Kalanick steady the wheel at the fast-growing on-demand ride service.

"This morning I told the Uber team that we're actively looking for a chief operating officer; a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey," Kalanick said in a statement.

After a series of embarrassing revelations, Uber faces challenges in keeping growth on track, with Kalanick pressured to yield some control.

Analysts say Uber's rocky past month -- marred by disclosures about a culture of sexism and its covert use of law enforcement-evading software -- underscores the need for more mature management at the world's most valuable venture-backed startup.

Kalanick, known for being brash and aggressive in propelling Uber's rise, also poses potential to be a liability as the company deals with more complex corporate issues, say some analysts.

Uber lost tens of thousands of users from the dust-up when Kalanick joined and then quit a panel advising President Donald Trump. This and the other incidents could have dented its value, which has been pegged at a whopping $68 billion.

San Francisco-based Uber last month hired former attorney general Eric Holder to review workplace conditions after an ex-employee alleged sexual harassment and sexism at the firm.

Separately, Google's parent company Alphabet filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging the ridesharing firm used stolen technology for its autonomous driving program.

Adding to the pile-up of woes, Kalanick last week was forced to make a humbling apology after a video showed him verbally abusing a driver for the service; at the same time he admitted "I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up."