Uber chief quits Donald Trump’s business advisory group

Travis Kalanick had come under pressure over his role in the US administration

Uber Technologies chief executive Travis Kalanick has quit Donald Trump's business advisory group after coming under criticism for taking the position, the company said on Thursday.

The CEO of the ride-hailing service had been under mounting pressure from activists who oppose the administration’s immigration policies, including Uber drivers, many of whom are immigrants themselves.

“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,” Mr Kalanick, who had planned to attend a meeting of the advisory group on Friday, said in an email to staff that was seen by Reuters.

Uber spokeswoman Chelsea Kohler later confirmed that he had left the group.


Social media campaigns had targeted Uber following Mr Kalanick’s appointment, urging users to delete their accounts.

The company this week has been emailing users who deleted their accounts to emphasise that it shares concerns about Mr Trump’s immigration orders and its efforts to compensate drivers affected by the Muslim travel curbs.

Mr Kalanick said he had spoken briefly to Mr Trump about the immigration order “and its issues for our community”.

Under pressure

The CEO came under increasing pressure to leave the council after Mr Trump issued an executive order temporarily barring people from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the US.

“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,” he wrote in the note to employees.

“Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there’s a growing fear the US is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.”

The move could put pressure on other CEOs expected to attend a meeting with Mr Trump on Friday.

General Motors said its chief executive will attend, while Walt Disney said earlier on Thursday its chief executive would not attend because of a long-planned board meeting.

Others expected to take part include the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Blackstone Group, IBM and Wal-Mart Stores.

Others that are part of the council include Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and Boston Consulting Group CEO Rich Lesser.

The White House did not immediately comment.

- Reuters