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We might be about to witness the public redemption of Travis Kalanick.
The former chief executive of Uber has hired a boutique advisory firm to repair his tarnished image.
The firm is question is called Teneo and, according to its website, specialises in “advising the leaders of the world’s most complex organisations.”
Teneo confirmed it was working with Kalanick in an email to Business Insider. Recode first reported the hire.
The company doesn’t make its clients public but there’s a big, bold quote on its landing page: “50% of a company’s reputation is created or lost by its CEO. Where’s reputation management on your agenda?”
And there are sub-sections of Teneo’s site detailing its specialist areas: corporate crises, corporate communications, and “CEO & Leadership positioning”.
The blurb on that last section suggests we might be seeing Kalanick planted in some high-profile outlets in the near future. It reads: “Through our close relationships with the world’s leading editors, reporters, producers, and hosts at top-tier print, online, and broadcast outlets, we develop and execute strategic, results-driven media engagement programs for CEOs that leverage traditional and social media platforms.”
Teneo has links to Bill and Hillary Clinton through its cofounder Doug Band, an advisor to the former president between 2002 and 2012. It’s also had ties to former prime minister Tony Blair, and Tory peer William Hague.
- Jeff Spicer / Stringer
According to Recode, Kalanick will be paying Teneo out of his own pocket, and he’s being advised by senior managing director Jimmy Asci. A source with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider Asci would be working with Kalanick, but said there were other advisors involved too.
Kalanick stepped down as CEO of Uber last month, after a seemingly endless series of scandals.
The issues exploded in February when former employee Susan Fowler alleged persistent harassment and sexism. Numerous scandals followed: an Indian user alleged her Uber driver had raped her and that execs had accessed her medical records; and a New York Times report found the company had used secret software to evade local regulators. Kalanick was videoed swearing at his own Uber driver. Eventually he stepped down so the company could avoid being “distracted”.
Uber is looking for a new chief executive, but Kalanick is reportedly meddling in the process. He has apparently said he’s “Steve Jobs-ing” the process, in reference to the late Apple cofounder who was fired from the company but then returned and led the company to glory.