Uber's New CEO Takes a New Approach, Apologizing for the Company's Past Mistakes
From a large sexual harassment investigation to underpaying drivers to allegedly stolen technology, Uber’s scandals over the past year have been plenty. Even after founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as CEO, the company continues to struggle to get back on track. However, the ride hailing company’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is taking a new, honest approach.
Over the past few years, Uber has often struggled with local, regional and even international governments over conducting business and renewing its licenses in major markets. In 2014, Uber was banned in Delhi, India, and it temporarily ceased doing business in 2016 in Austin, Texas, over disagreements with city laws.
In the most recent blow to the company, London, Uber's largest European market with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers, today refused to renew Uber's license to operate there because it deemed the company as not “fit and proper.”
In the past, when faced with these issues, Kalanick and other Silicon Valley execs usually took a defensive approach. For example, after Houston implemented a law requiring drivers to be fingerprinted, Uber General Manager Sarfraz Maredia wrote in a letter, "We have worked hard and taken extraordinary steps to help guide drivers through the current process in Houston. However, a year and a half later, it is clear the regulations are simply not working for the people of this city."
Khosrowshahi had said he plans to do things differently. In an open letter to Londoners, Khosrowshahi, while saying Uber will appeal the ruling, took blame for the situation and publicly apologized to those who were affected by the loss. "On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made," Khosrowshahi wrote in the letter.
“We won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you; we will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, in an internal memo obtained by The New York Times, Khosrowshahi expressed a sentiment on the minds of many of Uber's critics: “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation.”