Some Uber employees — including a few managers — are circulating a petition that calls for the reinstatement of Travis Kalanick, who was forced to resign as CEO earlier this week. The petition, which was first reported by Recode and BuzzFeed, speaks in glowing terms about Kalanick and calls for supportive employees to “revolt this!”
Also making the rounds is a letter to the company’s board that includes the signatures of over 1,000 employees asking for the return of Kalanick “to an operational role,” according to Axios. Both the letter and the petition are a reflection of a growing disgruntlement among some of Uber’s 15,000 employees about the manner in which the company’s founder and chief executive was fired.
The email, which includes a link to a petition that directs to an internal Uber website, calls on all those who disapprove of “TK’s resignation,” using Kalanick’s nickname among employees. “TK, no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have ever seen,” it reads. “He worked day and night in creating this company to what it is today.”
“Uber is TK,” it adds, “and TK is Uber.”
The letter to Uber’s board has a more formal writing style, but conveys the same message. “Yes, Travis is flawed, as we all are,” it reads. “But his passion, vision, and dedication to Uber are simply unmatched. We would not be here today without him, and believe he can evolve into the leader we need. He is critical to our future success.”
Kalanick was ousted late Tuesday after an extended barrage of scandals and controversy. According to The New York Times, a coalition of Uber investors, led by two venture capitalists, confronted Kalanick in a hotel room in Chicago with a letter demanding his resignation. After hours of intense talks, Kalanick finally acquiesced and agreed to step down.
But not all of Uber’s investors were on board with the power move. Mood Rowghani, a partner in a venture capital firm invested in Uber, told Axios in a statement that he agreed with those clamoring for Kalanick to remain involved at Uber. “Founders may not always play the role of CEO but several great companies—most notably Apple and Twitter—that severed all ties to their founders eventually came to regret it."
Unmentioned in any of these letters and statements is any reference to the avalanche of questionable behavior that led Uber’s board to demand Kalanick’s resignation. One such incident, the mishandling of the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014, has prompted yet another internal investigation at the ride-hail company.
Reuters reported today that Uber retained a law firm to probe how one of its top executives obtained the records. Meanwhile, the victim recently filed a lawsuit against Uber, Kalanick, and two other top executives — both of whom were also recently fired.