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The Man Who Has Travis Kalanick’s Ear

As Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tries to save his company’s reputation, he is again leaning heavily on his most indispensable executive: Emil Michael.

Mr. Michael, who has run business development, fundraising and acquisitions at Uber since 2013, is Mr. Kalanick’s closest confidant and has been his go-between with everyone from frenemies like Google to celebrity investors like Jay-Z.

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“He’s visibly excited about the prospect of getting the right leader [COO],” this person said. “He wants a strong operator to partner and soften TK,” a reference to Mr. Kalanick’s nickname.

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Inside Uber over the past week and a half, Mr. Michael has been “contrite” when discussing the South Korea escort report.