Uber may finally be changing its tune and, this time, in a very public way.
After being notified that it was losing its license for the City of London, the new CEO of the company Dara Khosrowshahi, apologized in an open letter posted in various international newspapers, to the City of London, its people and the regulators for its myriad ethical and other lapses, which led to the loss of its license to do business.
The regulator, Transportation for London (TfL) found that Uber was not “fit and proper” to hold its license. Reports noted the reasons included Uber’s inadequate background checks on drivers, its selective reporting of criminal incidents to the police, and the illicit use of the software program Greyball, which was designed to mislead regulators about where its cars were located and how many were on the streets.
Khosrowshahi wrote in his open letter, “While Uber has revolutionized the way people move in cities around the world, it's equally true that we've gotten things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes we've made.”
Of course, this open letter came after Uber UK had publicly blasted the TfL, accusing the regulator of fraud, bad faith, Luddite-ism, pro-unionism, and about every other inane argument it could come up with in response to the regulatory ruling. Yet, the head of Uber UK, under whose watch this initial response was made, announced her resignation from the company this week, effective immediately. This was made public the day before Khosrowshahi was scheduled to arrive in London for talks with the head of the TfL about the status of Uber’s license.
Now Khosrowshahi is in London, talking to the TfL. Hopefully, his open letter and in-person meetings demonstrate a continued approach to doing business ethically and in compliance with the various national laws under which it is regulated. If the company could ever manage to pair an ethical business model with its innovative culture, it could become an even more potent force across the globe.