Uber CEO quits Trump’s advisory council

2017-02-03 08:53 - Eric Newcomer
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Foto ter illustrasie.(Reuters)

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New York - Uber Technologies Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick is stepping down from President Donald Trump’s business advisory council after criticism from customers and drivers.

Kalanick’s participation on the council, along with more than a dozen other US executives, prompted blow-back on social media after Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration. It snowballed into a #DeleteUber campaign that benefited rival Lyft.

Uber’s CEO wrote in an e-mail to employees that he had spoken briefly Thursday with the president about his concerns with Trump’s ban of immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Kalanick, 40, told the president that he would no longer be involved with the advisory council, he wrote in the e-mail obtained by Bloomberg.

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

“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.”

Members of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum include the CEOs of BlackRock, Blackstone Group LP,  General Motors, IBM, Tesla and Walt Disney.

The group was created to provide the new president with guidance from a variety of industries on business and economic issues. But after Trump kicked off his first days in office with several dramatic and controversial policies, the companies have faced calls from customers and employees to disassociate from the administration.

“What’s striking is the kind of tumult and chaos that we’re observing in the aftermath of these executive orders,” said William Howell, an American politics professor at the University of Chicago.

“I can’t think of a single clear historical analog for this kind of behavior and certainly not two weeks into a presidency.”

Kalanick’s departure from the council and public condemnation of Trump’s immigration order opens him up to a possible retaliatory attack from the president, said Howell.

Trump’s next council meeting is planned for Friday. Disney CEO Bob Iger won’t be attending due to a previously scheduled board meeting. Tesla’s Elon Musk said he plans to be there, as does GM’s Mary Barra.

“Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration,” Musk wrote in a tweet Thursday.

“I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting, but I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good.”

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