About a third of Uber’s twelve-hundred person marketing team just got the ax. 400 Uber employees will perhaps be joining the ranks of its drivers. In an effort to cut costs and make things more efficient from an operational standpoint, the rideshare king is looking to shift public perception.
Following a dismal performance by its I.P.O., whose opening was marred by demonstrations by Uber drivers across the state and a first-quarter loss of over one billion dollars, Uber needs to show it can streamline. The news first broke with the New York Times, claiming that Uber sent out internal communications on Monday. Uber maintains a large marketing team of nearly 1,200 people and around 25,000 total worldwide, so to say this is a small hit is an understatement.
Is this a result of underperformance?
Whether this most recent set of cuts relates to first-quarter losses or the failure of the I.P.O. is unclear. What is clear is that Uber is trying to cut costs drastically — from switching to flat rate surge pricing and now, laying off Uber employees.
Following the 7.6% loss in valuation of the IPO, getting Uber stocks is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind right now.
Determined to sway public perception, Uber’s CEO has since shaken things up by jettisoning several executive members. Starting with Barney Harford, the chief operating officer, and Rebecca Messina, the chief marketing officer. Further board shake-ups have lost famous faces like Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post.
It all appears to be aimed at mitigating losses…
Uber is set to release its second-quarter earnings report in just over a week on August 8th. Wall Street wise guys expect another sharp downturn in the stock valuation as Uber is expected to again post a loss. According to Uber the most recent move in culling four hundred members of its marketing team was to “trim the fat”.
Claims of a bloated marketing department with unclear decision making running rampant are some of the few explanations given. It appears that a major restructure to Uber’s operational staff is clearly in the works. All Uber employees and drivers should expect further shake-ups.
Uber’s CEO Explains
“Many of our teams are too big, which creates overlapping work, makes for unclear decision owners and can lead to mediocre results.”
“As a company, we can do more to keep the bar high and expect more of ourselves and each other. So, put simply, we need to get our edge back.”
So what does this mean for drivers?
Ultimately, not much initially. Uber is trying to minimize its operational costs so that it can start to show profits if it even can. We all know from first-hand experience that treating your rideshare as a business is an expensive business to run.
For Uber executives, to whom I have no real pity, it really isn’t any different. We haven’t quite forgotten how one of its co-founders bought a $7.2 million mansion. The fact of the matter is that with trip subsidies and new driver subsidies Uber is sinking under its own weight. What it does mean for us is that an uncertain future is right around the corner.
Does it mean that there will be new rate or fare cuts?
I don’t think that Uber would risk further aggravating their drivers, at this time. Their situation in the market is precarious at best. Further slashing rates would be akin to cutting their own throat, at this point. If anything we could see a small fare increase or restructure that bolsters both driver and stockholder confidence. This would, of course, be so small that it would hardly feel like anything. However, as we should all know by now perception is nine-tenths of the game of life. If Uber can shift the public perception about the way they do business it would do wonders for their bottom line.