UBER CEO drops out of Trump’s advisory council
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder and chief executive of popular ride-sharing app Uber, announced Thursday he is stepping down from his position on President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council.
The decision, shared with Uber employees in a company-wide memo obtained by ABC News, comes the same week that a number of technology companies have expressed opposition to Trump’s recent executive order limiting travel and immigration for nationals of seven countries.
“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,” wrote Kalanick in the memo.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said last month he couldn’t attend the White House meeting because of a conflict with a company board meeting. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.
Uber received particular scrutiny on Saturday when it filled a void at JFK International Airport amid a union-organized one-hour taxi work stoppage in protest. That evening, the company announced it disabled its “surge pricing” near the airport, which increases the costs of rides during busy times.
Critics, feeling the company took advantage of the situation, portrayed the service as crossing a picket line and expressed their displeasure online with a #DeleteUber hashtag.
Kalanick addressed his relationship with the administration through the advisory council -– a role he took in December -– earlier in the day Saturday when he sent an email to employees. In a message entitled, “Standing Up for What’s Right,” he explained his motivations for joining the group and added, “It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree. But whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change.”
The CEO followed up with an email to drivers Sunday promising to provide legal support to any who could not return to the U.S. and to “urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel.”
Kalanick made clear Thursday that feedback from Uber employees and drivers in response to his messages had an impact.
“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,” wrote Kalanick in his latest note.
The news from Uber comes as fellow tech-giant Microsoft delivered a formal request to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly Thursday to provide for exceptions for some visa holders to enter the country.
The letter, signed by Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, notes 76 employees and 41 dependents affected by the restrictions who are unable to travel to visit family or for business.
Source: ABC News