Uber’s president of ridesharing, Jeff Jones, is leaving the company after less than a year on the job. Recode first reported the shake-up on Sunday, and Uber has since confirmed the departure with Business Insider.
“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” the company said in a statement.
Jones’ departure is not a direct result of the company’s search for a new COO, one that could’ve outranked him, but because Uber was “not the situation he signed on for,” according to Recode.
In an internal email obtained by Business Insider, though, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told employees that Jones “came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber” after the company announced its intention to hire a new second-in-command.
Since the beginning of the year, Uber has been hit with a blistering few weeks of bad press. In January, over 200,000 customers deleted Uber in one weekend as part of the #DeleteUber movement. Since then, the company has had to launch an internal investigation into its workplace culture after a former engineer published a tell-all blog post about the gender bias and sexual harassment she allegedly endured at the company.
Uber has also been sued by its investor, Google, for allegedly using stolen technology and had details of a program designed to deceive government authorities published in the last two weeks.
According to Recode, Jones departure is “directly” related to the number of scandals at the company. In a statement sent to Recode, Jones said he was leaving because “the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided [his] career are inconsistent with what [he] saw and experienced at Uber.”
Kalanick pledged to find leadership help and hire a new No. 2 as the result of the scandals, although many speculated that Jones’ initial role at the company was to be that right-hand man.
When the company announced his hire in August, Kalanick lauded the former Target exec’s experience as CMO and was excited about what he would bring to the ride-hailing giant.
Jones’ role as president meant he was in charge of all of Uber’s operations, marketing, and customer support around the globe — a position that unseated Uber’s first CEO Ryan Graves.
Yet, Jones had a rough few months on the job, including a disastrous Q&A with drivers that did little more than stoke the flames of ire directed toward the company.
The internal email says that Jones’ operations will report to Kalanick in the interim. Jones’ exit was also described as sudden and a surprise to the company, according to a source familiar with the matter.
His departure is the latest in a string of high profile leadership departures. Uber’s head of AI, Gary Marcus, left to become a special advisor to the company in March. Former Twitter engineer Raffi Krikorian stepped down from his role as a senior director of engineer at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in late February. Another key member of Uber’s self-driving team, Charlie Miller, had left Uber to join Chinese rival Didi’s self-driving car lab.
Uber’s also had two executives resign as the company investigates sexual harassment and gender bias in its workplace. Amit Singhal was asked to resign as SVP of engineering by CEO Travis Kalanick after it was revealed he didn’t inform Uber about previous allegations of sexual assault. Uber’s VP of Product and Growth Ed Baker also resigned under mysterious circumstances.
Here’s Kalanick’s internal email in full:
I wanted to let you know that Jeff Jones has decided to resign from Uber.
Jeff joined Uber in October 2016 from being CMO at retailer Target. In 6 months, he made an important impact on the company — from his focus on being driver obsessed to delivering our first brand reputation study, which will help set our course in the coming months and year.
After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber. It is unfortunate that this was announced through the press but I thought it was important to send all of you an email before providing comment publicly.
Rachel, Pierre and Mac will continue to lead the Global Ops teams, reporting to me until we have signed a COO. Troy Stevenson, who leads CommOps, and Shalin Amin who leads brand design will report to Rachel Holt. Ab Gupta will report to Andrew MacDonald.
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