It has been a fraught weekend for Londoners, with the news that Uber's license to operate in the capital has been revoked. This has resulted in a petition which has garnered more than 760,000 signatures at the last count. Uber sought to enter damage limitation Monday, courtesy of an open letter to Londoners from its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
To add further context to the story - unavoidably in this context - Uber's problems have been well-documented and pre-date the current head's tenure.
Former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned earlier this year following a string of controversies which saw Uber facing allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and intellectual property theft. Meanwhile, the current license revocation was attributed to the ride-hailing group's failure to appropriately report "serious criminal offences" or to conduct adequate background checks.
Seeking to draw a line under his predecessor's beleaguered last months, Khosrowshahi insisted he was fighter and would champion Uber's cause "with every bone in his body". Perhaps more tellingly, however, his open letter - published on Monday - took the same tone as Kalanick's reported outgoing team address, offering a personal apology for "the mistakes we've made". As Uber's CEO, he committed to "writing [the company's] next chapter".
Whilst the company might continue to make mistakes, he added, "we will listen to you; we will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion".
Whilst evidently addressing the need to keep Londoners on side in its attempt to overturn the revocation of its license, the statement followed all the basic checklists of responsible crisis communications.
In acknowledging the sizeable support the online petition, in the company's honour, had amassed, Khosrowshahi expressed care for Londoners depending on Uber to travel safely.
In referencing having "got things wrong along the way", he showed concern for the company's failings for which he now had to be held responsible.
In revealing the in-progress initiatives to make wheelchair accessible vehicles available and to tackle air pollution, he committed to taking urgent action to address Uber's widely reported failings and plan for a sustainable future.
And in offering his own personal commitment to "working with Londoners to make things right and to keep this great global city moving safely" he sought to reassure Uber's client base that it could continue to place its trust in the San Francisco company. In doing so, he also shored up their ongoing support as Uber seeks to appeal this decision on behalf of Londoners across the capital.
On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made. We will appeal this decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change. As Uber’s new CEO, it is my job to help Uber write its next chapter. We won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you; we will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion.