President Jeff Jones quit the ride-hailing company after just six months, saying, “The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber.”
Uber’s woes keep getting worse.
On Sunday, President Jeff Jones quit the ride-hailing company after just six months, becoming the latest executive to leave the world’s most valuable startup.
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 and second in command, a person familiar with the matter said.
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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 company 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’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.
“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’ hiring in August was widely publicized by Uber. He was in charge of the company’s branding, customer support and operations divisions.
His exit is problematic for Uber, as many current and former employees had seen Jones as a natural successor or counterpart to Kalanick. Investors and the company’s board of directors were particularly keen on stabilizing the troubled company after months of internal turmoil.
Jones was viewed by many as the “adult in the room” — an executive with experience as a leader at a public company that had undergone a period of intense crisis. He oversaw Target’s marketing division during and after the fallout of a major company data breach in 2013.
Another Uber executive, Brian McClendon, a vice president responsible for the company’s mapping program, also said over the weekend that he was leaving the company.
McClendon is departing amicably from Uber and will be an adviser to the company. In a statement, he said he was moving back to Kansas, where he is from, to explore politics. His exit has been in the works for some time.
The departures add to the executive exodus from Uber this year. Raffi Krikorian, a well-regarded director in Uber’s self-driving division, left the company last week, while Gary Marcus, who joined Uber in December after it acquired his company, left this month. Uber also asked for the resignation of Amit Singhal, a top engineer who failed to disclose a sexual-harassment claim against him at his previous employer, Google, before joining Uber. And Ed Baker, another senior executive, left this month as well.