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After Short-Lived Tenure, Uber President Quits Amid Company Turmoil

Mar 19, 2017
Originally published on March 19, 2017 9:02 pm

After less than a year as president of Uber, Jeff Jones is leaving the embattled ride-hailing company, Uber confirms.

"We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best," an Uber spokesperson says in a statement.

Jones, previously Target's chief marketing officer, was brought on by CEO Travis Kalanick last fall to boost Uber's reputation.

Though Uber has long held its reputation as an aggressive startup, the company has been battling recent controversies, ranging from sexual harassment allegations to Kalanick's abrasive behavior.

After a video surfaced earlier this year, showing Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver, the CEO admitted he needed leadership help, and announced his search for a new chief operating officer.

While that hunt appeared to threaten Jones' role as second in command to Kalanick, in a statement to Recode, Jones simply says his leadership approach is "inconsistent" with what he saw happening at Uber.

Meanwhile, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick issued a note to staff: "After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn't see his future at Uber."

Recode first reported Jones' departure on Sunday, initially citing sources that claimed Jones' departure was "directly related" to the company's amassing controversies.

A number of recent scandals plague Uber, including:

  • This month, The New York Times exposed Uber's secret "Greyball" program, established in 2014 to evade authorities worldwide in cities where the service has been banned. Uber later announced it will prohibit the use of the program
  • Last month, former Uber employee Susan Fowler Rigetti published a blog post describing systemic sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace. The viral post prompted Uber to launch an independent investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder
  • Earlier this year, a social media campaign encouraged consumers to #DeleteUber after CEO Travis Kalanick joined President Trump's economic advisory council — he's since quit
  • People accused Uber of trying to profit from Trump's immigration order and "breaking strike" by lifting surcharge pricing for airport protesters in New York

Jones joins a list of recent top executives to leave the company. Engineering executive Amit Singhal was asked to resign after failing to disclose a sexual harassment claim from his previous job at Google. This month, Uber's vice president of product and growth Ed Baker stepped down, in addition to security researcher Charlie Miller's departure.

Last month, Uber employees spoke with CNNTech about the company's "grueling" work pace and work-life balance — or lack thereof.

"If you're going to leave, people do so within the first year because the pace isn't what they expected or what they're used to," said Neal Narayani, Uber's head of people analytics.

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