Uber is cleaning house

Travis kalanick
Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber. Uber

A second round of layoffs has hit Uber’s communications and policy team, Business Insider has learned.

Combined with an earlier round of layoffs in October, more than a dozen employees have now left the company since the arrival of new communications head Rachel Whetstone, according to a person close to the company. Many were asked to leave.

The moves are part of a restructuring of the communications and policy team as Whetstone takes control of Uber’s public image.

At least three high-level directors departed the company in the last few months under the changes, while others in the company have been effectively demoted.

Whetstone brought on Jill Hazelbaker, a former Googler and VP of communications at Snapchat, to be vice president of communications and policy at the ride-hailing company.

Uber declined to comment for this story.

An industry insider speculated that the company has had a hard time reversing its image. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced heckling when he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” while simultaneously placing as sixth runner-up for Time’s Person of the Year. The company has been targeted by protests around the world while facing a lawsuit in its own backyard that could upend the company’s business model.

But restructuring isn’t uncommon after new management, and the company has moved in the past five years from scrappy startup to a ride-hailing giant rumoured to be worth more than $70 billion. Either way, change is underfoot at the world’s most valuable private tech company.

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