Uber CEO quits Trump's business advisory group, email shows

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON Feb 2 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has quit President Donald Trump's business advisory group, he said in a company email reviewed by Reuters Thursday.

The CEO of the ride hailing service had been under mounting pressure from activists who oppose the administration's immigration policies, including Uber drivers, many of whom are immigrants themselves.

"Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that," Kalanick, who had planned to attend a meeting of the group on Friday, said in the email.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks to students during an interaction at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Mumbai, India, January 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick gestures as he addresses a gathering during a conference of start-up businesses in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2016.

(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Chief Executive Officer of Uber Travis Kalanick and Gabi Holzwarth arrive at the Google, HBO and the Smithsonian?s American Art Museum ?Celebration of Creativity? cocktail party to celebrate the White House Correspondents' Association dinner weekend in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick attends the summer World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, June 26, 2016.

(REUTERS/Shu Zhang)

India?s Minister of Law and Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad shakes hands with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick before the start of their meeting in New Delhi, India, December 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick works with fourth graders during Cooking Matters, a nutrition class taught by 18 Reasons, a local partner of Share our Strength at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco, California, December 10, 2014.

(REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick (2nd R) works with fourth graders during Cooking Matters, a nutrition class taught by 18 Reasons, a local partner of Share our Strength at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco, California, December 10, 2014.

(REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

Dieter Zetsche, chief executive officer of Daimler AG, left, and Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., listen before speaking during the Noah technology conference in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The conference, one of the tech industry's premier events, was launched in 2009 and runs June 8-9.

(Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of US transportation company Uber Travis Kalanick at an event in New Delhi.

(Photo by Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks as Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., listens during the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at Stanford University in Stanford, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 23, 2016. The annual event brings together entrepreneurs from around the world for 3 days of networking, workshops and conferences.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., looks on during the Noah technology conference in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The conference, one of the tech industry's premier events, was launched in 2009 and runs June 8-9.

(Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Uber founder Travis Kalanick attends 'Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology', the 2016 Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2016 in New York, New York.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

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He said he spoke briefly to Trump about the immigration order "and its issues for our community" and told the president he would not join the economic council.

The CEO came under increasing pressure to leave the council after Trump issued an executive order temporarily barring entry to people from seven majority-Muslim nations.

"There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America," he wrote in a note to employees. "Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants."

The move could put pressure on other CEOs expected to attend a meeting with Trump on Friday. General Motors Co said its chief executive will attend, while Walt Disney Co said earlier Thursday its chief executive would not attend because of a long-planned-board meeting.

The White House did not immediately comment. (Reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco, David Shepardson in Washington, Joe White in Detroit writing Peter Henderson; Editing by David Gregorio)

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