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Is ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick plotting a comeback?

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As beleagured ride-hailing giant Uber searches for a new CEO, its former chief executive meanwhile has hired a CEO advisory firm to help him resolve some of his own issues.

Ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, who was forced in June to give up the helm of the company he founded, has hired consulting firm Teneo in an attempt to improve his tarnished image, according to tech blog Recode.

Teneo, which has offices all over the world, describes itself as “the global CEO advisory firm.” The company’s website say it is “exclusively dedicated to advising the leaders of the world’s most complex organizations. Our 12 operating divisions collaboratively solve the most pressing reputational, transformational & capital markets issues.”

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It’s an unusual move for someone who, in fact, is not a CEO. The news could add more fuel to rumors that Kalanick is busy planning his ascent back into Uber’s driver’s seat.

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Recode recently reported that Kalanick told several people he was “Steve Jobs-ing it” — a reference to Apple’s late CEO who left the company and later returned to lead it to greatness.

Kalanick remains a powerful board member and shareholder in Uber, and is actively involved in the company’s search to replace him — exerting a lingering influence that has given some critics pause, as they wonder whether whoever Uber chooses to lead the company will have to worry about Kalanick breathing down his or her neck.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman recently removed her name from Uber’s list of candidates, while General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s name was floated as a likely contender. But who will end up leading the company, and what role Kalanick will play going forward, is anyone’s guess.

Photo: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick talks to the media at the 2016 Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (Josie Lepe/ Bay Area News Group)

Tags: Travis Kalanick, Uber

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