Different day, but the same tough times at Uber. Uber President Jeff Jones has quit, Recode reported Sunday. The decision to leave directly relates to Uber’s last two months of PR hell, anonymous sources told Recode.
Uber PR provided this statement: We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best.
But the communications representative declined to elaborate more on the record about Jones’s decision to leave. The departure was effective immediately, and it seems to be that Uber has yet to decide who will take on the responsibilities.
Not long after, what appears to be a company message from Kalanick to employees addressing the matter appeared on Twitter:
The straw that broke the camel’s back, according to Recode, was CEO Travis Kalanick announcing his decision to hire a chief operating officer to help him put the ride-hailing giant back on track. It wasn’t that Uber was looking hire another No. 2, according to these sources; instead, it seems to be the fact that a COO was necessary at all.
Jones worked as the chief marketing officer for Target before joining Uber in September 2016. Jones had replaced Ryan Graves, the former CEO of Uber who Kalanick replaced in 2010. Graves, who now serves as head of operations, has reportedly been absent at Uber since the crisis.
Shortly after the post from Recode went live, Graves retweeted a tweet from The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington with lessons on being busy.
Huffington is a member of Uber’s board, and Kalanick recently appointed her to conduct an internal review for the company in the wake of recent scandals over the treatment of Uber’s female employees.
All of which is to say: Clearly, Graves will be busier than ever before.
Previously, in the madness that is #DeleteUber:
While Uber’s never played the part of the nice guy (short-changing driver’s fares and bypassing city regulations, for example), the company faced public backlash in the wake of recent scandals that sparked the hashtag #DeleteUber to trend across Facebook and Twitter.
Uber first publicly kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest of outrage by lifting surge pricing during the taxi protest of Trump’s Muslim ban.
Kalanick also annoyed his Silicon Valley brethren by joining Trump’s economic advisory council. He later stepped down from his position on it.
Then, former Uber employee Susan Fowler Rigetti blew the whistle on sexist workplace dynamics at Uber by sharing the story of her own jaw-dropping experiences with upper management at the company.
And last but definitely not least, Bloomberg recently surfaced a video of Kalanick speaking abrasively towards an Uber driver.
Oh, and also, the New York Times revealed ways Uber has sketchily resisted law enforcement and regulatory interventions, including a tool called “Greyball.”
Uber’s also seen several executives following the scandals: The SVP of engineering Amit Singhal resigned after reports surfaced of him leaving his previous job at Google, due to sexual harassment allegations. Uber’s vice president of growth . Other top executives recently have left Uber, as well: Uber head of AI Labs Gary Marcus; senior director of engineer at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center Raffi Krikorian; and Uber self-driving engineer Charlie Miller.
And after Jones, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be more to come soon.
At SXSW last week, we asked a bunch of tech celebrities who would be the best for the COO role. One person suggested Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Another suggested Peter Thiel (though he’s quite busy with Trump). Jeff Wilson, CEO of Kasita, offered up a creative suggestion: Jared of HBO’s Silicon Valley fame.
This story was updated with a statement from Uber.