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Uber business chief Emil Michael may leave company

Emil Michael, senior vice president of business development at Uber.

Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Emil Michael, senior vice president of business development at Uber.

Uber Technologies’ chief business officer, Emil Michael, may leave the company within days, NBC News reported, citing a source.

Michael, who joined the ride-hailing company in 2013, may leave Uber permanently or take a leave of absence, the source added. Michael is considered one of CEO Travis Kalanick’s closest allies.

Michael has been involved in some incidents that added to a recent spate of bad publicity for the company. At a public dinner in 2014, he talked about hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on journalists investigating the company, and was reportedly part of a small team of execs that visited a karaoke-escort bar in South Korea, which drew an HR complaint from a female exec in attendance. CEO Travis Kalanick’s ex-girlfriend, Gabi Holzwarth, told The Information that Michael called her earlier this year to try and dissuade her from talking to the press about the escort bar incident, where she was present.

Uber didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The news comes as Uber considers recommendations from a highly anticipated report, spearheaded by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, on the company’s reportedly raucous corporate culture. It also comes on the heels of the revelation of an email Kalanick sent to employees, advising them of sex guidelines for a company party in Miami.

Holder’s review launched in February after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing what she described as sexual harassment and the lack of a suitable response by senior managers.

Uber’s board is said to be voting today on recommendations from the Holder report. A potential leave for Kalanick is also reportedly under consideration.

Reporting by Jo Kent; writing by Michael Calia. Reuters contributed to this article.

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