Uber President Ditches Embattled Company Over Pile-Up of Controversies

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By Nahema Marchal | 9:49 am, March 20, 2017

The president of Uber Technologies, Jeff Jones, has abruptly left the company less than seven months into the job, citing ‘differences in belief and approach to leadership.’

Recode, which first broke the news of Jones’ departure on Sunday, said it was directly related to the multiple controversies that have beset the company in recent weeks.

“I joined Uber because of its mission, and the challenge to build global capabilities that would help the company mature and thrive long term,” Jones told the tech magazine.

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business,” he added.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” an Uber spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Jones, previously chief marketing officer at Target, was hired at Uber to help soften the company’s often aggressive image.

His sudden departure is the latest blow to the San Francisco-based company, following explosive allegations of rampant workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, revelations of a secret technology program to evade law enforcement, a lawsuit from Google and a series of departures from high-level executives.

Last month, former Uber employee Susan Fowler Rigetti published a long blog post describing a “hellish” workplace where sexual harassment was common and left unpunished. The bombshell post went viral,  prompting an internal investigation led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Earlier this year, a video surfaced of CEO Travis Kalanick berating an Uber driver who had been complaining about cuts in rates, resulting in Kalanick making a public apology and announcing he would seek leadership help.

This month Uber also confirmed it had been using a secret technology program called “Greyball,” established to evade authorities in cities where the service was banned. Uber has since prohibited the use of the program.

To top it all off, Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet-owned company Waymo alleging the car service company stole their designs for its self-driving car technology known as Lidar.

Uber has said the claims are false.

Jones joins a long list of executives who have departed the company recently. Earlier this month,  Uber’s vice president of product and growth, Ed Baker, and Charlie Miller, Uber’s famed security researcher, both left. And executive engineer Amit Singhal was asked to resign five weeks after failing to disclose he had left his previous job at Google following sexual harassment claims.

Though Uber has long had a reputation as an unapologetic startup, this pile-up of scandals has put both Kalanick’s abrasive leadership style and the company’s future into question.

In a separate announcement, Uber’s vice president of maps and business platform, Brian McClendon, also confirmed on Sunday he was planning on leaving the company at the end of the month to pursue a career in politics.

 

 

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