Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from President Trump’s economic advisory council. The social media revolt spurred a viral #DeleteUber and even caused dissent within his own company. The 40-year-old billionaire, in a statement made available to the Wall Street Journal, pointed out that his participation on the council had been misconstrued to mean an endorsement of the 70-year-old President’s policies.
“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.”
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick leaves president’s business council https://t.co/e0djLp1Iq3
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 3, 2017
Mr. Kalanick was expected to join other participants Friday, including Walt Disney and Wal-Mart CEOs Bob Iger and Doug McMillon, as well as Tesla Inc’s chief executive, Elon Musk and JP Morgan Chase’s chief executive Jamie Dimon. The group was billed to meet for the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum in Washington D.C. However, the Uber CEO had informed the President beforehand that he was backing out of the council.
“I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order..I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council.”
Customers and drivers had accused the Uber CEO, who has a net worth of $6 billion, of getting cozy with the Trump administration in the aftermath of the executive order banning the travel of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries to the U.S. The White House had asserted that ‘extreme vetting” was required to keep terrorists from finding their way into America. Many people saw it as a crack-down contrary to the ideals of American diversity.
— The Verge (@verge) February 3, 2017
The avalanche of criticism towards the ride sharing and car hire service had spiraled out of control with many people, including celebrities, gingering people to delete the Uber app from their smart devices. The revolt picked up over the weekend when the San-Francisco based company tweeted that it was halting a price increase to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The decision came at a time when traditional drivers had suspended their services to protest the travel ban. Observers felt that Uber was trying to take advantage of a lull in transport services and make more money. Others believed car services did not fully grind to a halt, it would sabotage the full thrust of the protest. According to the Business Insider, more than 200,000 people deleted their accounts.
By Thursday, the Independent Guild, a group of Uber drivers based in New York began circulating a petition for Kalanick to pull out from President Trump’s economic council. The group in a bid to sympathize with enraged customers also suggested that the company make a donation to attorneys and non-profits fighting the travel ban.
— Express Tribune Tech (@ETribuneTech) January 30, 2017
Kalanick had met with Uber employees before he resigned making the point that being on the council would have positioned the company to influence change and express dissatisfaction from within. Many of his staffers thought he was giving a rationale on why he would remain on the council. The co-founder of the peer-to-peer file sharing company, Red Swoosh, gave no indication he was going to resign.
Despite Kalanick’s withdrawal from the advisory council, protests are still penciled to go ahead across the country, including in New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco. The Uber CEO’s resignation is only one of the many blowbacks the President has received since assuming office over two weeks ago. This week, department-store giant, Nordstrom announced that they were cutting ties with Ivanka Trump and would not be selling any of her fashion products on their website, as reported by the Inquisitr.
— CNN (@CNN) February 3, 2017
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has insisted that despite the resignation of the Uber CEO, he will remain on the council. The 45-year-old revealed that his presence at the advisory council meetings did not mean he aligned himself with the Trump administration. Musk, who is worth a reported $13 billion, pointed out that his presence will “on balance serve the greater good.”
[Featured Image by Paul Sakluma/AP Images]