Exclusive: In Uganda, Uber trims workforce, unveils new country manager

Brian Njao Uber country manager for East Africa Brian Njao. Photo: Businessdailyafrica.com.

The Ugandan subsidiary of ride-hailing giant Uber is among units that have been affected by the current reorganization the company is undertaking to counter the damage from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where Uber had country managers for every unit in the East African region, in the latest changes, one person will oversee operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

This implies Aaron Tindiseega — who has been the company’s manager in Uganda — will be replaced by Brian Njao who oversees Uber operations across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Tindiseega left Uber in June to join Elephant Healthcare, a health technology company based in London, U.K.

While announcing Uber’s Q1 earnings, the company’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, said: “We are taking a hard look at our overall cost structure and our other bets to ensure our core business of Rides and Eats emerges stronger than ever.”

In emailed statement, Uber did not reveal how many employees in Uganda were ejected but this website understands that the company is reducing its headcount in Sub-Saharan Africa as has been done elsewhere the company is operating.

The laid-off workers are given severance packages, including a minimum of 10 weeks’ pay or more depending on contract terms.

The package also includes health benefits, additional equity vesting, outplacement/recruiting support, and additional support for Uber-sponsored visa holders.

A few months into the coronavirus lockdowns that swept through the world, Uber, which had seen rides tumble 80%, laid off 3,700 employees in order to save about $1 billion in costs.

Weeks later, on May 18, it announced another 3,000 employees were being trimmed off the workforce, riding the total cut in employees to 25%.

The company also closed 45 offices, with the chief executive citing a need to focus on operating a sustainable business.

“I knew that I had to make a hard decision, not because we are a public company, or to protect or stock price, or to please our Board or investors,” Khosrowshahi wrote to employees in a memo.

“I had to make this decision because our very future as an essential service for the cities of the world — our being there for millions of people and businesses who rely on us — demands it. We must establish ourselves as a self-sustaining enterprise that no longer relies on new capital or investors to keep growing, expanding, and innovating.”

‘Difficult decisions’

In an emailed statement, Anthony le Roux, a senior director and regional general manager of Uber Middle East & Africa, told me the decision to lay off workers was a hard one to take.

“Given the dramatic impact of the pandemic, and the unpredictable nature of recovery, globally we are concentrating our efforts on our core mobility and delivery platforms and resizing our company to match the realities of our business,” he said.

“That’s led us to some difficult decisions in Sub Saharan Africa where we have reduced the size of our workforce, each of whom I want to thank personally for their enormous contributions. We are making these tough choices now so that we can move forward and begin to build again with confidence.” 

Spread the love