Tech Uber emailed former riders to tell them, 'We have fallen short'

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Uber is acknowledging making mistakes, chalking them up to growing too quickly and failing "to prioritize the people that helped get us here."

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(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In an email sent to riders in New York City on Friday, the new-age taxi company "failed to prioritize" its various stakeholders. And it laid out some of the "radical" changes it's making to revamp its workplace.

"In expanding so quickly, we failed to prioritize the people that helped get us here," Uber said in the email. "Ultimately, the measure of our success is the satisfaction of our riders, drivers, and employees — and we realize that we have fallen short."

The email was sent to Uber customers in several of its markets who hadn't taken rides recently, according a person familiar with the situation.

The move is likely a bid to win back riders after a tumultuous first half of 2017.

The year kicked off with more than 200,000 customers deleting their account in reaction to the #DeleteUber movement. After a former employee wrote a blog post detailing the sexual harassment and gender bias she allegedly experienced at the company, Uber launched an investigation into its workplace. Later, company CEO Travis Kalanick was caught on video arguing with an Uber driver over pay.

On Tuesday, the crises came to a head when former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his firm released the results of their investigation — a set of 47 wide-ranging recommendations meant to overhaul the company's culture. On the same day, Kalanick, announced plans to take and indefinite leave of absence from the company.

In its note to riders, Uber acknowledged there's more work to be done. Here's its full apology to customers:

As a company, we have faced some hard truths. In expanding so quickly, we failed to prioritize the people that helped get us here. Ultimately, the measure of our success is the satisfaction of our riders, drivers, and employees — and we realize that we have fallen short.

After a report of inexcusable workplace harassment surfaced earlier this year, our board and senior leadership took immediate action. They asked former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and experts from the law firm Covington & Burling to conduct a thorough investigation. After four months of review, this week they released their report, which you can read here.

Today, we are ready to embrace radical change. Uber’s board has unanimously accepted all 47 recommendations from the Covington Report and has begun to put them and others into action. We are committing ourselves to the following:

  • Increasing accountability. Accountability is not a one time thing. We’re creating an Ethics and Culture committee to oversee the actions of our company and our leaders. We have also instituted a 24/7 support line so that any employee can feel safe reporting unprofessional behavior.
  • Changing leadership. An independent board chairperson will be appointed along with additional independent board seats. The first of which has been filled by Nestle’s former CFO Wan Ling Martello. Liane Hornsey who came onboard in January as our Chief Human Resources Officer has taken on the task of improving our workplace culture while Frances Frei, Harvard Business School Senior Associate Dean, joined Uber as SVP of Leadership and Strategy in June.
  • Focusing on collaboration and empathy. We’re overhauling our cultural values to reward collaboration and to foster a workplace that is inclusive rather than contentious. We believe empathy is not a goal in itself, but one that will help us build products that put our customers’ needs first.
  • Empowering diverse perspectives. We’re committing to hiring a diverse workforce and will be appointing a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer to oversee new policies.

The past several months have compelled us to redefine who we are and who we want to be as a company. We are proud of our thousands of employees across the globe, who are committed to serving our riders and drivers. As a group, our dedication to our mission remains strong. You can hear from employees in this video.

There is still more work to be done, but we are confident that we are taking the first steps to becoming the company you deserve.

Your New York City Uber Team

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