Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has quit Trump’s business council

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has quit Trump’s business advisory council, the
Strategic and Policy Forum, an Uber spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday.

The news was first reported by Recode’s Kara Swisher. Kalanick’s full memo to Uber employees is reproduced below.

Uber and its CEO has come under fire for its ties to Trump both internally and externally. In an internal email obtained by Business Insider, its CTO, Thuan Pham, wrote shortly after the election that he did not support Trump and that he did not accept him as his leader.

Protesters also recently blocked Uber headquarters in San Francisco over the company’s ties to Trump.

In an all-hands meeting last month, Kalanick defended his membership on the Trump’s business council. “We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better,” he said.

Uber blockade
Protesters blockade Uber headquarters in San Francisco in January, 2017 Business Insider

Here is Kalanick’s full memo to employees:

Dear Team,

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.