Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick has quit from his role as an economic advisor to Donald Trump, just days after his association with the new US President led to a backlash by Uber customers.
Kalanick issued a memo to Uber staff on Thursday (2 February) stating his intention to leave Trump's economic advisory council, which is also occupied by Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk.
"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."
Kalanick's work with Trump was strongly criticised by Uber drivers and passengers in the wake of the president's executive order temporarily preventing the travel of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries to the US.
A claimed misunderstanding over Uber's stance on the ban, and a strike by New York taxi companies in its wake, caused '#deleteuber' to trend on Twitter. The phrase's popularity led to so many accounts being deleted (a reported 200,000) that Uber was forced to quickly create an automated system for removing customer accounts. The company has previously handled account deletion manually.
Here is the full memo, as published by Buzzfeed:
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.