Uber has faced a litany of problems, with the charges of sexual harassment, the constant need for more cash, run-ins with regulators, court cases. It hasn't been easy.
The company has taken some steps, including a new CEO. The newest step that happened this week is the addition of a former top Department of Justice lawyer to be the compliance and ethics officer, as the Wall Street Journal reported.
Until last week. Scott Schools worked for U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Reportedly, Uber started approaching the 56-year-old in February. For a summary of where things stand with the company, as the Journal noted:
Uber is the subject of at least five federal investigations, looking into issues including into its pricing practices, accusations of bribery by Uber executives abroad, and the company's use of software designed to evade local officials tracking its operations. It is also contending with lingering questions about past sexual harassment allegations, and federal investigators probing the safety of its self-driving vehicle program after a fatal accident earlier this year.
There's an issue every company must face in its development. Businesses go through stages. Early on, many, particularly in the tech sector, focus on growth. But running a company is far more than worrying about growth.
You need competent human resources, financial analysis, competent cash flow management, and legal and regulatory compliance controls. Growth can be exciting and addictive, unchecked, it is the definition of a cancer.
For years since its founding, Uber kept pushing hard and making growth the top objective. That left room for the many problems the company had internally and outside.
Uber -- and many others, including employees, customers, and communities -- have paid time and again for the company's choices. It's time for the business to grow up. That's what the addition of Schools is meant to do.
Along with his boss Tony West, who was in the DoJ under Obama, both individuals bring deep legal experience with a particular slant on how prosecutors think. That, unfortunately, has become an important insight.