The resignation comes just one week after the controversial travel ban was put in place from an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent the following letter to his employees:
Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this and mapping it to our values. There are a couple that are particularly relevant:
Inside Out – The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration’s agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.
Just Change – We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.
Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s. I am incredibly proud to work directly with people like Thuan and Emil, both of whom were refugees who came here to build a better life for themselves. I know it has been a tough week for many of you and your families, as well as many thousands of drivers whose stories are heartfelt and heart-wrenching.
Please know, your questions and stories on Tuesday, along with what I heard from drivers, have kept me resilient and reminded me of one of our most essential cultural values, Be Yourself. We will fight for the rights of immigrants in our communities so that each of us can be who we are with optimism and hope for the future.
Didn’t read the entire thing? Don’t worry about it. Basically, Kalanick left the advisory council because people were interpreting his role as an endorsement for everything the Trump administration does. That, according to the Uber CEO, is false. His role was nothing more than to provide direction on business growth strategies.
— Justin Herrick (@JustHerrick) January 30, 2017
Many, including myself, called for more action from Kalanick after two very underwhelming responses to Trump’s executive order.
The widespread belief that Kalanick was heavily involved with the Trump administration also caused Lyft, the main competitor to Uber in the car service industry, to skyrocket. A hashtag was born on Twitter (#DeleteUber) and the masses began leaving Uber for a transparent alternative.
Lyft CEO Logan Green even revealed Lyft’s donation of $1 million to the ACLU, one of the organization’s that spent hours formulating a way to defeat the executive order.
While Uber is going to continue receiving heat for months to come, Kalanick’s resignation is the best move at the moment. It’s not completely known what he was telling the Trump administration, but Kalanick needed to remove any association right away to maintain any chance at a positive image. Now, with his resignation behind him, expect Uber to work on repairing its relationship with users worldwide.