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February 3, 2017

Uber CEO Quits Trump Advisory Council Amid Criticism

Travis Kalanick LeWeb Day 1 - Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is leaving President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council after facing criticism from employees and the public alike.

Kalanick became a rather unlikely scapegoat for public outrage after Trump signed an order last Friday suspending immigration to the United Sates from Muslim countries.

A #DeleteUber campaign was started via social media because  Kalanick, who was a member of Trump’s business council, failed to immediately condemn the ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the United States for at least the next 90 days.

Although Kalanick was quick to call the ban “unjust” and promised to set up a $3-million legal defense fund for affected Uber drivers, it was not enough, apparently, to appease his critics. More than 200,000 customers deleted their Uber accounts, saying Kalanick’s participation on the council was an endorsement of the Trump administration’s policies.

Kalanick, in a blog post earlier this week, defended that participation, saying: “We’ve taken the view that in order to serve cities you need to give their citizens a voice, a seat at the table. We partner around the world optimistically in the belief that by speaking up and engaging we can make a difference. Our experience is that not doing so shortchanges cities and the people who live in them. This is why I agreed in early December to join President Trump’s economic advisory group.”

The loss of business — because losing 200,000 customers is a big deal — has changed Kalanick’s mind, however. In a letter to employees obtained by The New York Times, Kalanick announced he would step down.

“Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s,” Kalanick wrote in an e-mail to employees. “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.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, spoke out about the importance of being on the council.

In a lengthy tweet, Musk said:

The Forum, which will be chaired by Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, also includes IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, Disney CEO Bob Iger and former GE chairman Jack Welch, to name a few. The group was established to meet with Trump on a regular basis to offer their input as he implements his economic agenda.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.