Uber President Jones Quits Amid Turmoil and Search for COO

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. President Jeff Jones is quitting after less than a year, amid multiple controversies engulfing the ride-hailing company.

The scandals range 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 ridesharing and second in command, a person familiar with the matter said.

Jones decided to leave because the long string of controversies are not what he signed on for when he left his post as chief marketing officer at Target Corp., according to Recode, which reported his departure earlier Sunday. He’s not leaving the closely held company because of the COO search, the website reported. Jones’s purview included Uber’s brand, which took a beating during his short tenure.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” Uber wrote in an emailed statement.

Uber has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons this year. The San Francisco-based 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.

The exterior of the headquarters of Uber Technologies Inc. in San Francisco. PHOTO: ERIC RISBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Uber President Jeff Jones Quits Amid Company Controversies

Uber President, Jeff Jones, abruptly quit the ride hailing tech company on Sunday. Recode, which broke the news, reported that Jones’ resignation was directly related to Uber’s recent pileup of controversies that included a culture of rampant sexism and harassment. 

Jones’ tenure with Uber lasted just six months: He left his role as chief marketing officer for Target in August 2016 to become Uber’s president. Recode, citing unnamed sources within the company, characterized Jones as a conflict-averse leader whose had determined that Uber’s problems were bigger than he realized. 

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber,” Jones said in a statement to Recode.

The past month and a half has been particularly bruising for the company’s image.

Kalanick was recently caught on a dash cam video chewing out one of his own drivers and bragging about the company’s hard-nose culture. The embarrassing video prompted the 40-year-old to release a statement saying, “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”

Kalanick’s behavior made headlines just days after a former engineer penned an explosive viral blog post about her year working with the company. Former Uber employee Susan Fowler described Uber’s workplace as a sexist, aggressive culture where her complaints of being sexually harassed by her manager were met with indifference by the human resources department and retribution by upper management.

The post prompted Uber’s early investors to called on Kalanick to change what they said was the company’s “destructive culture.”

Around the same time, the company was also contending with drivers angry over various workplace and compensation issues ― and received little relief following a public and disastrous Q&A that Jones led via Facebook.

Prior to that, Uber endured the first of two #DeleteUber campaigns after users protested the company. The company deliberately turned off surge pricing during a taxi strike at at major airports around the country. Taxi drivers were striking in solidarity with the thousands of protesters who had gathered to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

The movement drove more than 200,000 Uber customers to delete their accounts. As a result, Kalanick resigned from his role on Trump’s Economic Advisory Council.

In between controversies, Uber hired a new chief operating officer to help Kalanick lead. The role, incidentally, pushed Jones one rung down on the company’s ladder, though sources told Recode the company adding a COO was unrelated to his departure.

Uber President Of Ride-Sharing Jeff Jones Resigns

Uber Technologies Inc. is losing another high-profile executive amid a deepening crisis at the big ride-hailing firm over its culture and practices.

Jeff Jones, president of ride-sharing, has resigned from Uber just six months after joining the San Francisco company, Uber said on Sunday. The executive, who also oversaw marketing and customer support globally, and was brought in as a key lieutenant to Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

The departure comes after Mr. Kalanick said earlier this month that Uber is seeking a chief operating officer, following a string of controversies that have buffeted the world’s most valuable startup and highlighted deficiencies in its leadership. The issues have ranged from sexual harassment claims by a former employee to a video of Mr. Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver.

In an email to employees Sunday, seen by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kalanick said Mr. Jones made the decision to leave on his own. “After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber,” Mr. Kalanick said.

The exit is among a string of key executive departures in recent weeks, including Ed Baker, vice president of product and growth, and Raffi Krikorian, who helped oversee Uber’s self-driving car efforts. Amit Singhal, a top software engineer at Uber, was fired after a month for failing to disclose allegations of sexual harassment at his previous employer, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, a person familiar with the matter said.

Uber had touted its hiring of Mr. Jones in August from Target Corp., where he was chief marketing officer. He had joined Target in 2012 and was previously chief marketing officer at Gap Inc.

“Marketing is becoming more and more of a thing, and it was clear we needed a real infusion of talent on that front. So we went big,” Mr. Kalanick said in a blog post at the time announcing the hire.

Mr. Jones didn’t immediately respond to attempts to reach him Sunday.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” said an Uber spokesman in a statement.

Technology-news site Recode reported Mr. Jones’ departure earlier Sunday.

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