Uber CEO reportedly favored rank-and-file layoffs over pay cuts for top execs

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reportedly vetoed a request from the ride-hailing giant’s top executives to cut their own salaries in order to avoid laying off rank-and-file workers, paving the way for thousands of pink slips.

A number of the ride-hail giant’s engineering leaders last month told Khosrowshahi that they and other managers were willing to have their own pay slashed in order to spare their workers from Uber’s wide-ranging culling of its headcount, according to The Information (paywall).

“The answer is no,” Khosrowshahi said in response, according to the report. “What we’re doing through is fundamentally realigning the company so that our cost base matches the new reality of the world post COVID. We do not want to take temporary measures.”

Khosrowshahi likewise signaled that part of his plan includes “remaking the engineering team so that over time more jobs would be located overseas,” according to the report.

Uber earlier this month laid off 3,700 workers from its customer support and recruiting teams, and expects to continue the culling with cuts to its engineering, products, operation and self-driving units which will be completed by May 18. The cuts may end up representing as much as 30 percent of Uber’s workforce.

The CEO also waved off employee questions about whether other executives would follow his lead and either forgo their salaries or take pay cuts. That’s despite the fact that any salary cuts at the top would be “largely symbolic,” according to the report.

“The company’s top executives typically earn between $1 million and $2.5 million a year from salary and bonus pay,” the report said. “That represents a small fraction of their overall compensation, which is mainly in the form of stock awards.”

Khosrowshahi has reportedly been discussing plans with Uber’s engineering executive to outsource jobs beginning later this year. Over time, as the engineering team grows, more roles will be filled overseas.

Jobs leaving the US would include work on Uber’s core infrastructure such as its data centers, according to the report.

Uber’s ride-hailing business is down more than 80 percent in recent weeks as tens of millions around the world are locked indoors.

A representative for Uber did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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