The Chief Executive Officer of Uber Technologies Inc. has quit the business advisory group of U.S. President Donald Trump. Travis Kalanick left the advisory council last Thursday after constant pressure from employees and activists who were opposed to the president's controversial immigration policies.
According to Reuters, many of the critics who slammed the Trump administration's immigration policies include Uber drivers, many of whom are immigrants themselves. Kalanick had planned to attend a meeting of the advisory group on Friday before he made the decision to quit. In an email sent to Reuters, Kalanick says that his joining of the advisory council was "not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda, but unfortunately, it has been misinterpreted that way."
Chelsea Kohler, a spokeswoman for Uber Technologies Inc., confirmed that the CEO had left the group. Uber became the target of social media campaigns urging users to delete their Uber accounts and to go with rival Lyft Inc. instead. Users who have deleted their accounts were sent an email from Uber saying that the company shares their concerns and will do what they can to compensate the drivers who have been affected by Trump's immigration ban. It is said that more than 200 customers deleted their accounts.
Kalanick came under increasing pressure to leave the advisory group after President Trump signed an executive order which temporarily banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. According to the New York Times, Mr. Kalanick joined the Trump administration last December. Many Uber staff members were beginning to question why their CEO would still consider advising Trump after his immigration ban on refugees.
The departure of Kalanick from the Trump advisory council could signal a rift between the White House and technology companies. On Thursday, software giant Microsoft Corp. said it was proposing a modification of the president's travel limits. Many technology corporations such as Apple Inc., Google, Amazon Inc., and Microsoft have opposed the immigration ban saying they rely on workers from all over the world.