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Uber CEO Tries to Change His Image

KalanickAfter many stories of Uber's questionable practices with reporters, employees, drivers, and technology, CEO Travis Kalanick is trying to change his image. A Recode author writes, "A more cuddly Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has returned to social media."

After a Twitter hiatus in 2016, Kalanick is back on, as Recode reports, "as the nicest CEO in the whole wide world." We see pictures of Kalanick with his mom on Mother's Day, with his parents at the Kentucky Derby wearing hats, and of his grinning face while he touches his heart.

Recode reminds us this isn't the first time Kalanick has taken to social media to try to change the company's and his own image:

After the media furor around whatever scandal of the moment died down, Kalanick tried to humanize himself — and, by virtue, the company — and often turned to puppies or children to do that.

After we saw a video of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver over declining wages, he promised to improve. But the promise was about his leadership style. This seems like a PR fix. 

Discussion:

  • Assess Kalanick's approach. Who is his audience, and what are his objectives?
  • Am I justified in questioning Kalanick's sincerity or too harsh?
  • What else could he do to improve the company's image and his own image?