Uber Hires Top Obama Advisor David Plouffe to Fight ‘Taxi Cartel’
Uber just picked up a high-profile political figure to help steer its strategy.
Uber announced Tuesday that it has hired David Plouffe, a former top advisor to President Obama, to serve as senior vice president of policy and strategy. Plouffe will join the company in September and manage Uber’s political, communications and branding efforts.
“I will look to him as a strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world,” Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, said in a blog post announcing the hire. “He is a proven field general and strategist who built the startup that elected a President.”
The move comes as the taxi startup continues to fight regulatory battles in the U.S. and abroad. Kalanick, never one to mince words, has previously said that Uber is in a political battle against an “asshole called taxi” and suggested that Plouffe will help the company succeed in that fight.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Uber’s new leader who will be bringing the expertise, wisdom, and strategic mindset to the next phase of the Uber movement, shepherding us well beyond the challenges of the Big Taxi cartel, and into the brave new world of software-powered transportation,” Kalanick said.
Plouffe, for his part, touted Uber as being a “once in a decade if not a once in a generation company” and echoed Kalanick’s sentiment about the taxi industry in his statement on moving to the startup.
“I’ve watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change. Ultimately, that approach is unwinnable,” Plouffe said in the statement. “But I look forward to doing what I can right now to ensure drivers and riders are not denied their opportunity for choice in transportation due to those who want to maintain a monopoly and play the inside game to deny opportunity to those on the outside.”
Uber recently raised $1.2 billion at a $17 billion valuation and now operates in more than 100 cities worldwide.
You can read the full statement from Plouffe below:
I am thrilled to be joining Travis Kalanick and the great team at Uber. As Uber succeeds like I believe it can, it will spur the creation of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and directly create millions of jobs; deliver rapid, easy and affordable transportation alternatives to workers, parents, businesses and people out having a good time; make our roads safer, drastically cutting down on drunk and distracted driving; and give those who choose not to purchase an automobile a more viable way to live their lives day to day.
Uber has only been around a few years. In that short time, some companies can begin to lose their start up mentality and sense of urgency – and insurgency. Not Uber. This is a hungry team, with big vision and the skills to execute on that vision. The strength and character of the senior leadership team Travis has assembled is one of the major reasons I’ve decided to join them. And when you walk thru Uber’s HQ in San Francisco, the place is pulsating with young, brilliant and dedicated employees who believe they are part of doing something historic and meaningful and won’t take no for an answer. It’s a feeling I’ve been fortunate to experience previously and feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by that talent and energy one more time.
Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company. Of course, that poses a threat to some, and I’ve watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change. Ultimately, that approach is unwinnable. But I look forward to doing what I can right now to ensure drivers and riders are not denied their opportunity for choice in transportation due to those who want to maintain a monopoly and play the inside game to deny opportunity to those on the outside.
I could not be more excited to join such a vibrant company and its people who will be at the absolute leading edge of tomorrow’s innovations and changing people’s lives and their cities for the better. It will be a privilege to jump in the foxhole with the team at this great startup and get to work.