Things keep going from bad to worse for Uber. On top of the ongoing issues of founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick’s removal from the top job while still maintaining a major shareholding and directorship, combined with lawsuits and bad publicity in relation to sexual abuse complaints and other issues too numerous to name, Uber’s legality is now being called into question.
The City of London has elected to not renew Uber’s license to operate in the UK capital. This is being seen by many as ridesharing coming full circle, especially because it wasn’t that long ago that Uber was fighting for an acknowledgment of the ridesharing model itself. Now, having done all the hard work, the business has had that hard-fought status removed, even while it’s competitors operate freely in the City of London.
Incoming CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent a page-long email to all Uber staff on the ban. While this was obviously intended to demonstrate awareness and acknowledge that changes need to be made, it sounds, at certain stages, much more like blame being allocated to Kalanick and his actions.
…it’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles and we will vigorously appeal TfL’s (Transport for London’s) decision — but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningful contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.”
The terminology can be considered to do more than acknowledge previous shortcomings, as it potentially points out that Uber is not regarded as a great company that contributes to society. Fortunately for everyone at Uber, including and especially the investors, Kalanick famously delayed listing the business, otherwise it’s likely the impact on the share price would have been extraordinary.
The next few months will be interesting, and investors will be crossing their fingers and other cities don’t follow London’s lead and consolidate their ride-sharing licenses not to include one of the businesses that created the industry in the first place.