Uber's Latest Executive Exit Adds to String of Controversies
On Sunday, President Jeff Jones quit after just six months, becoming the latest executive to leave the world’s most valuable startup, according to Bloomberg. Jones’ exit comes in the wake of a long string of controversies, ranging from allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic work culture to the combative behavior of Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick.
After Bloomberg published a video on Feb. 28 showing Kalanick berating an Uber driver, he said he would seek “leadership help” and was planning to hire a chief operating officer. The plan was viewed internally as an effective demotion for Jones, who was hired last year as president of ride-sharing and second in command, a person familiar with the matter said.
In an email to staff on Sunday, Kalanick said Jones “made an important impact on the company” during his six months there. “After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber,” Kalanick wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by Bloomberg.
“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” Uber wrote in an emailed statement.
San Francisco-based Uber has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this year. The ride-hailing app was accused of undermining a taxi strike against U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in January. Kalanick stepped down from Trump’s business advisory council after a #DeleteUber movement began to pick up steam. In February, a former employee wrote a blog post about her experiences of sexual harassment while working for the company, and Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous car company Waymo for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Such events are not what Jones signed on for when he left his post as chief marketing officer at Target Corp. "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," Jones wrote in a statement provided to Recode, which was the first publication to report his resignation.
Jones’s purview at the closely held company, included Uber’s brand, which took a beating during his short tenure, largely for reasons beyond his control. Brian McClendon, a vice president responsible for the company’s mapping program, also said over the weekend that he was planning to return to his hometown in Kansas.