Uber lays off 400 marketing employees including many in UAE, Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon

Uber has laid off 400 employees from its global marketing team on Monday (July 29) in efforts to cut costs and streamline its operations, The New York Times reported earlier this week. The layoffs were announced internally on Monday and include one-third of Uber’s marketing team that had 1,200 employees before the cuts. Uber did not share the specific details but said that the layoffs were made across its different global offices.

Tino Waked, Uber’s General Manager for MENA who manages company’s business across all its markets here, in a LinkedIn post confirmed that the layoffs were made in MENA as well. According to his post, the marketing staff from both Uber & Uber Eats in UAE, Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon was laid off. The people that were let go were working in social, content, strategy, campaigns, partnerships, and research teams across these markets in MENA.

These are the largest layoffs by Uber since it was founded in 2009 and come less than three months after Uber’s disappointing IPO. The company employs almost 25,000 employees around the world, nearly half of whom are based in the United States, according to NYT. The American company had reported a loss of over $1 billion on its $3.1 billion revenue in the first quarter of this year. Uber will be revealing its 2019 Q2 numbers on August 8.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in an email to employees (seen by New York Times), said, “These changes are incredibly difficult to make because they have a huge impact on people’s lives. 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.”

In another email by Uber’s Senior Vice President of communications and public policy Jill Hazelbaker who leads company’s marketing team as well, said that the layoffs were taking place because [marketing] “team had grown bloated and decision making was not clear”. She also added that she planned to consolidate Uber’s regional marketing teams around the world “including in the United States and Canada, Latin America and the Middle East. The marketing team oversees ride promotions, advertising campaigns, and social media.”

Uber’s acquisition of Careem

Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem that is being acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion, in an email to his staff after the acquisition was announced had indicated that there won’t be any layoffs at Careem as a result of acquisition but with Uber tightening the screws on its spending, that may not be the case when Uber-Careem deal closes early next year.

Uber’s IPO filing earlier this year had confirmed that “Careem’s engineering, human resources, and operations teams will continue to operate independently and report to Careem’s Chief Executive Officer” but it had also noted that Uber will “integrate certain general and administrative functions at the Uber parent level” without sharing specifics.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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