Uber boss quits Donald Trump's business group amid staff anger at immigration ban

Critics have included the company’s cab drivers, many of whom are immigrants to the US

Tom Batchelor@_tombatchelor
Friday 03 February 2017 02:00
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​Social media campaigns have targeted Uber, urging users to delete their accounts and choose rival taxi firms such as Lyft
​Social media campaigns have targeted Uber, urging users to delete their accounts and choose rival taxi firms such as Lyft

Uber’s chief executive officer Travis Kalanick has quit Donald Trump's business advisory group amid mounting pressure from activists and employees who have come out against his administration’s hard-line immigration policies.

Critics have included 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,” the transport company boss said in an email to staff.

He had planned to attend a meeting of the group on Friday but it is understood he will no longer be at the event.

​Social media campaigns have targeted Uber, urging users to delete their accounts and choose rival taxi firms such as Lyft.

Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn

In response to the outrage, Uber has been emailing users who deleted their accounts to say it shares their concerns and will compensate drivers affected by the ban.

Mr Kalanick said he had spoken to Mr Trump about the immigration ban – which affects travellers from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa – highlighting “its issues for our community”.

He 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.

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

Ellen DeGeneres addresses Trump's travel ban using Finding Dory

The White House said in a statement that Mr Trump “understands the importance of an open dialogue with fellow business leaders to discuss how to best make our nation's economy stronger”. It did not mention Uber directly.

Mr Kalanick’s move could put pressure on other CEOs to follow suit.

Among those expected to attend the US President's next scheduled business meeting is the chief executive of car manufacturer General Motors, while the boss of Walt Disney is unable to attend because of a long-planned board meeting.

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

Additional reporting Reuters

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