Former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick hired a reputation management firm to help him rebrand himself in the eyes of the general public, people familiar with the move said on Thursday. The company in question is Teneo, a New York City-based "global CEO advisory firm," according to its own tagline. Founded in mid-2011 by Declan Kelly, Paul Keary, and Doug Band — a mixture of businessmen and lawyers closely associated with the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton family — Teneo offers services ranging from corporate strategy planning and M&A consulting to crisis management and operational restructuring. The company has a strong presence on virtually every populated continent and currently holds offices in 13 cities around the planet, having expanded its global footprint by hiring former high-profile officials from governments all over the world, including Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin, ex-U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell, and Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Kalanick reportedly chose Teneo after exploring a number of possibilities related to his personal PR needs which he's financing on his own. One Jimmy Asci was chosen as his representative at the company, sources said, though it's understood that the reputation management firm is also putting together a larger team that's meant to start improving Mr. Kalanick's public image in the near future. Uber's former top executive is also said to have hired a number of lawyers in recent times, though it's currently unclear if their assignments are closely related to his hiring of Teneo. The latest turn of events indicates that Mr. Kalanick and his new advisors may soon start pursuing proactive measures to repair his reputation that suffered a massive hit following his high-profile departure from the company in June amidst Uber's major legal battle over trade secret theft with Alphabet's Waymo and allegations of a predatory corporate culture at the ride-hailing giant that he supposedly made little effort to stop.
Mr. Kalanick's hiring of Teneo goes in line with recent reports that Uber's ex-CEO is looking to return to a top management role at the company he co-founded in 2009, with sources close to him stating that he's planning on "Steve Jobs-ing" the current situation.