Uber employees are circulating a petition to reinstate Travis Kalanick as chief executive, two days after he resigned following months of scrutiny.
Managers are sending the petition to employees, according to sources at the company and a screenshot provided to BuzzFeed News. "Uber is TK and TK is Uber," the note reads, referring to Kalanick's internal nickname.
"TK, no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen," the email continues.
The email also said employees should contact Uber board members Arianna Huffington and Garrett Camp, as well as former member Bill Gurley, to let them know they are unhappy that Kalanick resigned.
“A lot of people are extremely loyal to and in the cult of personality he had," one engineer told BuzzFeed News.
Another employee told BuzzFeed News the petition was "ridiculous," and that "TK knew there were cultural problems and ignored it." Asked if this employee would sign the petition, the person said "hell no."
Kalanick's resignation came one week after he said he would take a leave of absence and return as “Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.”
Asked for comment, an Uber spokesman directed BuzzFeed News to a statement the company sent employees on Wednesday.
"As you'd expect, the emotions around Travis’ decision are intense. We understand that, and we want all of you to know that he did not make this decision lightly," the statement reads. "Stepping back now was his way of putting Uber first, as he always has. Travis gave more to this company than anyone. He had a deep and meaningful impact on countless numbers of people at Uber and around the world, and for that, we will forever be grateful."
Read the full email from Michael York, a product manager at Uber, here:
To say the last day has been rough would be the understatement of the year. I was totally crushed last night when I read the news of Travis’ resignation.
As many of you know, I joined Uber at 18 dropping out of my freshman year of college. I ditched my education to be here because I was in complete awe of the incredible people around me. I was having the time of my life making something out of nothing with this insanely smart, driven, familial group of people. Of course, no one inspired my decision more than Travis.
In just my first few months at Uber, Travis validated what I’d felt for a lifetime: that it didn’t matter where you’d worked. How old you were. How many times you’d failed. All that mattered was what you were capable of. He’s always been every Builder’s greatest champion, and it’s why many of us are here today.
Nearly everyone I’ve spoken with who’s met him has an amazing story to tell about how Travis motivated them to to do their best work; how he made them believe they could be greater than the sum of their parts; how he had their back in moments of doubt, even when it came at his expense.
In this moment of frustration, all I can think to do is what he would have done. Work harder than ever to make things right.
Nobody is perfect, but I fundamentally believe he can evolve into the leader Uber needs today and that he’s critical to its future success. I want the Board to hear from Uber employees that it’s made the wrong decision in pressuring Travis to leave and that he should be reinstated in an operational role.
My ask is simple: one click (and an optional note) to express your support for Travis’ return. The form is totally anonymous. I will deliver the results to the Board.Please feel free to forward this note – every click counts.
With lots of love,
Priya Anand is a tech and transportation reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Priya Anand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caroline O'Donovan is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Caroline O'Donovan at email@example.com.
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