BUSINESS

Uber President Jeff Jones Quits Amid Company Controversies

The company's No. 2 executive resigned after just six months on the job.

20/03/2017 5:27 AM IST | Updated 20/03/2017 6:57 PM IST

Uber President Jeff Jones abruptly quit the ride-hailing 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 the tech company 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 who determined that Uber’s problems were bigger than he had 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. 

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick confirmed Jones’ departure in an email to employees on Sunday:  

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

Kalanick was recently caught on a dashcam video chewing out one of his own drivers and bragging about the company’s hard-nosed 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 Susan Fowler, a former engineer, penned an explosive viral blog post about her year working with the company. 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 call 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 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, although sources told Recode the company adding a COO was unrelated to his departure. 

Jones’ full statement reads: 

I joined Uber because of its Mission, and the challenge to build global capabilities that would help the company mature and thrive long-term.

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, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business.

There are thousands of amazing people at the company, and I truly wish everyone well.

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