NEW DELHI/ MUMBAI: Uber has laid off 350 of its staff as part of its third global retrenchment drive this year, of which under 10% are based in India, three people with knowledge of the matter said. These terminations will impact all of Uber’s businesses in the country, including its online food-delivery vertical under UberEats, they said. The overall staff strength in India is about 2,700. ET could not independently verify this number. Uber did not communicate a country level breakout of layoffs.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing major had emailed employees saying it would cull jobs of 350 people across the world with 70% of that in the United States and Canada. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is scheduled to visit India later this month. But sources in the know said his visit may not be directly connected to the layoffs.
Uber India constitutes about 2% of Uber’s revenue, but contributes to a large part of its expenses, which makes it a target for cost cutting, said one of the people. The latest round of downsizing takes Uber’s total retrenchment count to 1,200, which is 1% of Uber’s total staff strength.
This is the third round of layoffs at the transportation major which went public earlier this year and has been on a drive to cut losses in the backdrop of a disappointing IPO.
The first job cuts happened in July when staff from the marketing and analytics team were let go. The next set took place in September, which did not affect India. However, a few product and technology positions were eliminated back then.
In India, marketing, CRM team, and analytics continue to shrink, sources say. Uber confirmed the global layoffs, but declined to comment on specifics until press-time on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, ET reported that Uber had restructured its corporate holdings and brought its India business, including food delivery, under Uber India Systems. The rides business and Uber’s food delivery arm were earlier part of Uber BV, a private limited liability company registered in the Netherlands. The restructured business operations went live on October 1. At the time, two top UberEats executives – India chief Bhavik Rathod and head of central operations Deepak Reddy had resigned as well.
Uber has, for the past year, been trying to sell its India food delivery business, UberEats. It had been negotiating with Swiggy and Amazon separately for a sale. But its valuation turned out to be a stumbling block in both transactions. Since Uber listed on the New York Stock Exchange it has been consistently losing money.
“In its second quarter results of 2019, Uber said gross booking increased 37%, but it posted a loss of $5 billion.”