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Former Uber CEO Kalanick to resign from company’s board

NEW YORK — Travis Kalanick, who built Uber into a ride-hailing giant, only to be ousted as CEO over the company’s sexist “bro” culture, is cashing out. Kalanick disclosed Tuesday that he has sold off all his Uber stock — estimated at more than $2.5 billion — and is resigning from the board of directors,…

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Former Uber CEO Kalanick to resign from company’s board

NEW YORK —
Travis Kalanick, who built Uber into a ride-hailing giant, only to be ousted as CEO over the company’s sexist “bro” culture, is cashing out.

Kalanick disclosed Tuesday that he has sold off all his Uber stock — estimated at more than $2.5 billion — and is resigning from the board of directors, severing ties to the company he co-founded a decade ago.

“Uber has been a part of my life for the past 10 years. At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” the 43-year-old entrepreneur said in a statement.

Uber, based in San Francisco, transformed the way people get around and how they make a living, too, turbocharging the gig economy and undermining the taxi industry. Its nearly 4 million drivers around the globe have logged 15 billion trips since 2010, when Kalanick and Garrett Camp came up with the idea of hailing a ride from a smartphone after a trip to Paris when they couldn’t find a taxi.

But Kalanick was fired as CEO in the summer of 2017 with the company mired in lawsuits.

Uber under Kalanick grew with incredible speed, but like a number of other tech startups, it ran into trouble with a corporate culture that appeared at times to be spinning out of control. Before his ouster as chief executive, Kalanick acknowledged he needed to “fundamentally change and grow up.”

His career at Uber seemed to fit a certain pattern seen in Silicon Valley: The brash and disruptive personalities who are great at creating startups can be ill-suited for the corner office when the company reaches maturity. Sometimes “adult supervision” in the form of experienced executives has to be brought in.

In one of the Uber’s biggest scandals, Kalanick was accused of presiding over a workplace environment that allowed rampant sexual harassment.

A former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, leveled sexual harassment and sexism allegations in a 2017 blog post, saying a boss — not Kalanick — had propositioned her and higher-ups had ignored her complaints. Kalanick called the accusations “abhorrent” and hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate. Holder recommended reducing Kalanick’s responsibilities.

After multiple investigations, Uber fired 20 employees accused of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation against those who complained. This month, the company paid $4.4 million to settle a federal investigation over workplace misconduct.

The problems went beyond employee relations.

Waymo, the self-driving car company spun off from Google, sued Uber in 2017, alleging a top manager at Google stole pivotal technology from the company before leaving to run Uber’s self-driving car division.

Uber also gained a reputation under Kalanick for running roughshod over regulators, launching in markets before officials were able to draft rules and regulations to keep the ride-hailing business in check.

During Kalanick’s tenure, The New York Times revealed that Uber used a phony version of its app to thwart authorities in cities where it was operating illegally. Uber’s software identified regulators who were posing as riders and blocked access to them. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating.

“Many investors will be glad to see this dark chapter in the rear view mirror,” Dan Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities, said in a note to investors.

Kalanick, through a spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed Tuesday.

Kalanick is not alone among visionary tech entrepreneurs who have stumbled after building startups from nothing.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has had too loose a grip on his Twitter habit and has been fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors with a tweet. He was also sued for defamation, but ultimately cleared, for going on Twitter and calling a British cave explorer “pedo guy” — short for “pedophile.”

Adam Neumann, the former CEO of WeWork, recently stepped aside after the workplace-sharing company canceled its initial public offering amid concerns about his judgment, including his use of WeWork stock to secure a $500 million personal loan.

After Kalanick’s ouster, former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was brought on as Uber’s chief executive to clean up its image and steer the company to its stock market debut in May. But Uber’s stock floundered and fell almost 11% in its first day of trading as a public company. It has tumbled more than 30% since.

“Let’s call it like it is: Uber stock has been a nightmare since the IPO coming out of the gates,” Ives said.

Kalanick had been one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, owning 9% of the company at the time of the IPO.

Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Navigant Research, said it was not surprising Kalanick sold his stake.

“He, like everyone else, probably realizes now that Uber and its competitors are unlikely to reach sustainable profitability in the foreseeable future,” Abuelsamid said. “Automated vehicles are not the savior for ride hailing and won’t be mainstream for many years. With that in mind, his Uber stake is probably as valuable as it will get for a long time, if not forever.”

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UNC shooting victim who was hailed a hero honored with ‘Star Wars’ character

Howell’s heroic efforts saved people’s lives, police said at the time.December 25, 2019, 1:33 PM4 min read Riley Howell, who was hailed a hero for sacrificing his life to protect others in the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been honored with a “Star Wars” character that was named after him.…

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UNC shooting victim who was hailed a hero honored with ‘Star Wars’ character

Howell’s heroic efforts saved people’s lives, police said at the time.

December 25, 2019, 1:33 PM

4 min read

Riley Howell, who was hailed a hero for sacrificing his life to protect others in the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been honored with a “Star Wars” character that was named after him.

Howell was killed on April 30 when a gunman opened fire inside one of the school’s buildings. He helped take the gunman off his feet and, in doing so, saved lives, police said at the time.

Howell’s legacy will carry on with the character, Ri-Lee Howell, who is a Jedi master and historian, according to “The Rise of Skywalker” visual dictionary, which was released on Dec. 20, the same day the latest film in the franchise came out.

The Jedi are described as guardians “of peace and justice” and “protectors united by their ability to harness the power of the Force,” according to Wookieepedia, a fan-run Stars Wars encyclopedia.

Lauren Westmoreland, Howell’s girlfriend, said Monday that the character was the perfect tribute for him.

“Riley is the biggest fan of Star Wars that I’ve ever known, ever since he was little!!!!!” Westmoreland posted on the video-sharing TikTok app.

“Thank you for giving my love this best Christmas gift this year and making him part of the Star Wars universe forever,” the post continued.

The video included baby photos of Howell playing with “Star Wars” figurines.

Howell was credited with taking the assailant “off his feet” during the shooting, allowing officers to step in and apprehend him, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at the time.

Without him, “the assailant may not have been disarmed,” according to Putney.

“His sacrifice saved lives,” Putney said.

Another student, Ellis Parlier, 19, was also killed in the shooting and four more were wounded.


ABC News


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Memorial service to be held for slain teen to remember her ‘light’

In lieu of flowers, Blanchard’s family asks guests to donate to charities. December 21, 2019, 9:07 PM7 min read A memorial service was held for Aniah Blanchard on Saturday in Alabama, where relatives and loved ones remembered the “light” she brought to their lives. The ceremony at the Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham was…

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Memorial service to be held for slain teen to remember her ‘light’

In lieu of flowers, Blanchard’s family asks guests to donate to charities.

December 21, 2019, 9:07 PM

7 min read

A memorial service was held for Aniah Blanchard on Saturday in Alabama, where relatives and loved ones remembered the “light” she brought to their lives.

The ceremony at the Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham was a “celebration of life.”

The church was filled with dozens of Blanchard’s family, friends and members of her hometown of Homewood, where she attended their public schools and played high school softball.

Most of the mourners wore Blanchard’s favorite color, baby blue, which “fit her personality — bright, big and vast as the ocean,” a member of Homewood High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps said during their alternated flag-folding ceremony in her honor.

“It’s easy for me to talk about Aniah, she is my mini-me…I gave birth to her on my birthday,” said Blanchard’s heartbroken mother Angela Haley Harris. “She is the greatest gift to me.”

“This memorial service is a celebration of Aniah’s life and to commemorate who Aniah was and the impact her life and ‘light’ is having on the entire world,” according to the Facebook event page created for the service.

“Aniah was light, she made you feel okay when you look in her eyes,” said Noah Wail, Blanchard’s godbrother.

“She was my person I would talk to when I needed someone,” he added, wiping away a tear before playing a guitar tribute to the Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts The Most.”

Blanchard was studying early childhood education at Southern Union College with hopes of transferring to Auburn University.

“Aniah had a light that you wanted to be around. The light she had every day of her life is still here and is still being shared,” said Hannah Haley, Blanchard’s cousin.

“Aniah is my biggest fan. She would always tell me when it came to my career it will be okay, you gotta keep going,” said Walt Harris, Blanchard’s stepfather and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter. “So now I have to go strong for the other kids…Glad to have her in my life and how she had an impact on my life.”

Amy Letson, one of Blanchard’s softball coaches, shared an anecdote of that showed “Aniah’s beautiful spirit.” After a game, Blanchard told the losing team that “she was proud of them and she could tell they worked very hard,” Letson recalled.

“Together we learned to work together, work hard and be kind to others,” read Blanchard’s younger sister, Aylah, with her two older brothers by her side. “We are so happy you are our sissy.”

Bill Cleveland, superintendent of Homewood Public Schools, announced establishing a scholarship that will be made in Blanchard’s honor to continue the her legacy.

The family requested that in lieu of flowers, all donations be made in Blanchard’s name to: The Texas Equusearch Group, Children’s Hospital of Alabama or the Birmingham Human Society, in honor of her beloved dog “Blue.”

Throughout the over two-hour service, dozens of photographs from Blanchard’s life were displayed in a slideshow along with videos of her smile that brought comfort and peace, mourners said.

Blanchard was last seen at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 23. She was allegedly abducted by Ibraheem Yazeed, who authorities say shot her when she “went for the gun,” according to court documents.

The 19-year-old’s body was found shot to death on Nov. 25, approximately 36 miles away in a wooded area in Shorter.

A tipster led police to Yazeed, who was in Pensacola, Florida, authorities said. He was already out on $295,000 bond for a separate kidnapping case from January in Montgomery, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Yazeed, 30, is being charged with two counts of capital murder charges in connection with Blanchard’s death. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

David Johnson Jr., 63, and Antwon Fisher, 35, were also charged in connection to Blanchard’s murder, though Fisher’s charges were dropped this week because of “legal and jurisdictional grounds,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes confirmed to ABC News on Saturday.

Johnson Jr., 63, is charged with hindering prosecution.

“The investigation into the murder of Aniah Blanchard is still ongoing and we will continue to evaluate and exhaust all leads in the pursuit of justice for Aniah and her family,” Hughes said.

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Couple married at same Dunkin’ where their love splintered nearly 30 years ago

A Massachusetts couple were married at the same Dunkin’ Donuts where their young love splintered nearly 30 years agoDecember 28, 2019, 9:33 PM2 min readWORCESTER, Mass. — A Massachusetts couple reunited for extra-sweet wedding vows at the same Dunkin’ Donuts where their young love splintered nearly 30 years ago. Valerie Sneade and Jason Roy were…

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Couple married at same Dunkin’ where their love splintered nearly 30 years ago

A Massachusetts couple were married at the same Dunkin’ Donuts where their young love splintered nearly 30 years ago

December 28, 2019, 9:33 PM

2 min read

WORCESTER, Mass. —
A Massachusetts couple reunited for extra-sweet wedding vows at the same Dunkin’ Donuts where their young love splintered nearly 30 years ago.

Valerie Sneade and Jason Roy were married Friday afternoon, joined by family, friends and customers buying coffee and pastries at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Grafton Street in Worcester.

“It had to happen here,” Roy, who works for the Worcester Parks Department, told the Telegram & Gazette during an earlier interview.

“We think it’s an absolute riot,” said singer and actress Sneade, who is now taking the name Valerie Roy. “Has anybody been married in Dunkin’ Donuts before? Maybe we’ll start a trend.”

Sneade and Roy mostly didn’t see each other for 25 years after a conversation about their future at the same shop in 1992 led the young, in-love couple to step back from their relationship. Sneade blames misunderstandings at the time and words that didn’t come out right.

Roy joined the Navy, married and had three children. Sneade also had a first marriage and moved to Florida. She became a singer and actress, developing her own cabaret shows. Both later divorced.

“I wouldn’t want to change a thing that happened,” Sneade said. “Jason has three beautiful children who he adores. I had a different way to give to the world through music.”

When Roy learned Sneade was performing a Valentine’s Day-themed musical revue in Worcester in February 2018, he showed up and sat in the front row.

“I looked out almost like a deer in the headlights,” Sneade said. “I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ ”

Three months later, she moved back to Massachusetts. Roy proposed that New Year’s Eve.

“I think we’re going to appreciate each other more so much later in life because every day is a blessing,” Sneade said. “I can’t imagine my life without him.”


ABC News


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