In the wake of London’s bombshell decision last week to deny Uber’s licence renewal, the embattled company’s new CEO has struck a conciliatory tone. In an open letter, Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged that Uber “got things wrong along the way,” and offered an apology.
Transport for London (TfL) cited “public safety and security implications” among its reasons for denying Uber’s license. The statement and apology come as Uber prepares its appeal of TfL’s decision.
Khosrowshahi moved to distinguish the company’s actions under former top man Travis Kalanick, those under his spell, stating that, “as Uber’s new CEO, it’s my job to help Uber write its next chapter.”
Rather than discussing TfL’s concerns, he directed the narrative toward the company’s future. He mentioned running the business with humility and integrity going forward. The former is likely a nod to Kalanick’s reputation for bold and aggressive strategies. While the latter is seemingly aimed at TfL’s claims that Uber deliberately under-reported crimes, Khosrowshahi was careful to avoid directly addressing the allegations with legal proceedings underway.
London mayor Sadiq Khan reacted positively to the apology. “Even though there is a legal process in place,” he said, “I have asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with [Khosrowshahi].”
Earlier, however, he had accused Uber of reacting to the TfL decision in a threatening manner. “You can’t have it both ways,” he told BBC Radio, “on the one hand acting in an aggressive manner and threatening all sorts of things, on the other hand brief to journalists that they want to do a deal with TfL.”
Meanwhile, Uber London started a petition on Change.org to ask TfL to reverse its decision. By Monday, it had over 750,000 signatures.