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Urban Airship Aims to Move On From CEO's Assault Allegations (Memo)

The push notifications company plans to use the upheaval as an opportunity to become a leader around diversity issues.

Urban Airship

Mobile notifications company Urban Airship is trying to find its way forward, three weeks after CEO Scott Kveton stepped aside amid allegations he sexually assaulted a former girlfriend.

On Friday, interim CEO Mike Temple hosted a company-wide meeting to encourage the company to be a positive force in the push for the diversity in the tech industry.

“Scott leaving the company was only the first step in our path forward,” Temple said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Re/code. A Portland Police Bureau spokesman confirmed to Re/code earlier this month that an investigation of Kveton was under way and that no charges have been filed.

“We want to participate in the broader industry discussion and hope to lead by example, with an understanding that our actions will matter far more than our words,” Temple said.

Urban Airship also needs to keep going on its day job — serving up push notifications to various mobile devices, and Temple noted early work to support iOS 8 and the just-released Amazon Fire Phone.

When contacted for comment about specifically what it plans to do, Temple said that the company is still figuring that out.

“The ‘what’ and ‘how’ of that process will be very participatory across our workforce, and engage people from all parts of the company,” Temple said in an email. “To say that we have the answers today and start defining outcomes before the process is allowed to work is counter-intuitive to the process itself.”

Temple said that the company will look at what other companies have done and find something that works for Urban Airship, adding that a company-run diversity forum has generated more than 500 posts from employees since it was started July 8.

Here’s the full memo:

To: Staff
From: Mike Temple
Subject line: Charting the Course Ahead

Earlier this month, allegations about Scott Kveton’s personal life became public and it was very difficult for all of us to see Urban Airship associated with that. Scott leaving the company was only the first step in our path forward.

The past three weeks have entailed much reflection with ongoing, active discussions across the company. Our perspective has crystallized. Even though these allegations were external to our workplace, the broader challenges facing the tech industry demand our intentional focus on how we can act and advocate for more diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace environments.

It should go without saying, but it needs to be said, that Urban Airship is fiercely committed to offering every employee an inclusive, supportive, safe and welcoming workplace. We believe we have created a great culture that allows employees, regardless of background, to contribute and thrive, and we are identifying areas to improve our values, policies and practices to ensure we fully support this commitment.

The enthusiasm we’ve seen from employees across the company in conversations and in organically organized efforts like the Diversity Guild—a workgroup focused on education and action related to the tech industry’s issues—speak volumes about people’s passion for Urban Airship and our collective desire for continuous improvement. Monday we held a cross-department roundtable to hear from all corners of the company and focus on what we need to do next, and over the coming months we will share our efforts with the industry to solicit feedback and additional ideas. We want to participate in the broader industry discussion and hope to lead by example, with an understanding that our actions will matter far more than our words.

Each and every one of you will play a vital role in our path forward. We want you to share your experiences with friends and colleagues and continue to ask hard questions, challenge assumptions and help build the type of company we want to be. Your experiences here and the opportunities that Urban Airship has afforded you, along with your thoughtful consideration of women being under-represented in tech and the industry’s other challenges, will go a long way toward ensuring that Portland’s startup community offers an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

I’d also like to thank everyone for remaining focused on the business, resulting in a lot of recent achievements to be proud of including another record quarter, readying initial iOS 8 support and Amazon Fire phone support well before either product reaches consumers, helping our customers achieve unprecedented mobile activity during World Cup, and continuing to both ship functional improvements and deliver services to customers across the globe.

Please do not hesitate to surface any issues or ideas directly with me, your manager, HR or your colleagues. This is our company and our community and we intend for each and every one of us to play an active role in helping drive continuous improvement. If you’d like to get involved please join the Diversity Guild on Jive and Slack, and let us know your thoughts.



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