2 of Uber's top executives have left the company

Uber‘s chief marketing and operations executives are out, the company confirmed on Friday.

Barney Harford, Uber’s chief operating officer since January 2018, and Rebecca Messina, chief marketing officer since October 2018, are both leaving. Bloomberg News first reported the departures.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced their departures in an email to Uber staff Friday afternoon, a copy of which was provided to Business Insider by the company. He said the shakeup allows him to have a more direct hand in daily operations.

“Barney and I have agreed that the COO role no longer makes sense, and he’s decided to leave Uber,” Khosrowshahi said. Barney is a talented businessperson, and I can’t thank him enough for all of his contributions in helping get us to and through the IPO.”

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In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Harford would stay on until July to help with the transition.

In 2018, Harford came under fire for his comments about an advertisement that features a mixed-race couple. The New York Times reported in July of that year that Harford voiced concern about “how common” the pairing was in markets where the ad was set to air. He also confused two of the black women in the ad because of similar hairstyles, the paper reported.

Harford later apologised for those comments, saying in a memo obtained by Business Insider that he was “embarrassed” about the insensitive comments.

Messina is leaving the company without any major scandals. In an interview with Business Insider in September 2018, the Coca-Cola veteran said she was looking forward to assisting Uber in distancing itself from a scandal-ridden past.

I certainly think that we’re on the brink of becoming one of the greatest icons in the 21st century,” she said at the time.

Here’s the full text of Khosrowshahi’s email, as provided by Uber:

Over the years, I’ve learned that at every critical milestone, it’s important to step back and think about how best to organise for the future. Given that we’re a month past the IPO, now is one of those times, and I’ve been discussing this topic a lot with Barney and the leadership team.

We’ve made so much progress over the last two years, and Uber is in a far better spot both internally and externally. I now have the ability to be even more involved in the day-to-day operations of our biggest businesses, the core platform of Rides and Eats, and have decided they should report directly to me. This will allow me to be more hands on and help our leaders problem-solve in real time, while also ensuring that we make our platform vision a reality.

Given this, Barney and I have agreed that the COO role no longer makes sense, and he’s decided to leave Uber. Barney is a talented businessperson, and I can’t thank him enough for all of his contributions in helping get us to and through the IPO. Under his leadership, we’ve increased our focus on engagement with the launch of our rider and driver loyalty programs; improved the customer experience by eliminating tens of millions of defects through ContactLess100; and strengthened the critical partnership between our product/tech and business teams. On a personal level, I’ve appreciated his strategic mind, analytical chops, and unflagging passion and efforts for our mission. Barney will be around until July 1 to help me with the transition.

With this change to the COO role, I have decided to make a few additional changes:

Mac, one of our most tenured and talented leaders, will take on the Global Rides business, reporting to me. Reporting to Mac will be Pierre, Troy (CommOps), Gus (Safety & Insurance), Ronnie (U4B) and Mike (Product Ops). Pierre will now head up International Rides, adding LatAm to his scope in addition to EMEA and APAC, with George Gordon reporting to him. Sarfraz Maredia-who will take on US & Canada Rides-will continue reporting to Mac, and Brooks Entwistle will take on interim leadership of the Rides Business Development team under Mac.

Jason and the Eats team will now also report directly to me. And Zhenya Lindgardt, who recently joined Uber from Boston Consulting Group, will report to me and take on a new Platform Strategy & Customer Engagement role, focused on making sure we optimise our platform to realise its full growth potential and drive customer engagement across all our products.

Finally, it’s increasingly clear that it’s crucial for us to have a consistent, unified narrative to consumers, partners, the press, and policymakers. So I’ve decided to combine our Marketing, Communications, and Policy teams into one, led by Jill. Given this, Rebecca and I have agreed it makes sense for her to move on. In Rebecca’s time here, she stood up our first global marketing organisation and helped showcase the best aspects of our brand during our IPO. I’m so grateful for her energy and enthusiasm over the past 9 months, and I wish her all the best.

Given that Marketing is so important to our business, and our brand continues to be challenged, I have also decided to unify all marketers across Performance, Product, Rides, Eats, Safety, ATG, Freight, Nemo, and Employer Brand globally under Jill. Since joining Uber nearly four years ago, Jill has been instrumental in addressing some of our toughest challenges as a company. She’s an excellent team builder and always committed to doing what’s best for Uber. In order for Jill to dedicate more of her time to Marketing, she has asked two proven leaders to step up: Matt will lead Global Communications and Justin will lead Global Policy, both reporting to Jill.

There’s never really a right time to announce departures or changes like this, but with the IPO behind us, I felt this was a good moment to simplify our org and set us up for the future.

As always, I’ll be at the All Hands on Tuesday (from our DC office) to answer your questions. Until then, I ask that you support the leaders who have stepped up for the company, and keep your foot on the gas!

Uber on,


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