Marissa Mayer defended Uber founder Travis Kalanick: 'He's a phenomenal leader'

Marissa MayerKimberly White/Getty Images for FortuneEx-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Uber has made headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months but Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo, defended Uber founder Travis Kalanick on Tuesday, according to a report by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Kalanick, who was Uber’s CEO since it was founded in 2009, has been heavily criticised for creating a toxic culture at Uber and turning a blind eye to several major issues including sexual harassment. He stepped down as CEO last Wednesday.

“Scale is incredibly tricky,” Mayer reportedly said at the annual Stanford Directors’ College education event. “I count Travis as one of my friends. I think he’s a phenomenal leader; Uber is ridiculously interesting.”

Mayer added: “I just don’t think he knew. When your company scales that quickly, it’s hard.”

The tech veteran made her comments less than two weeks after she stepped down as Yahoo CEO. A number of reports have suggested that Mayer could take over from Kalanick as Uber CEO.

Mayer went on to say that Uber is currently going through the same kind of thing that Google went through when Eric Schmidt was brought on as CEO to help founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

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