Uber president Jeff Jones quits, deepening turmoil


Reuters

UPDATE 3-Uber president Jeff Jones quits, deepening turmoil


(Adds vice president McClendon's departure in paragraphs 9, 10)
    By Heather SomervilleSAN FRANCISCO, March 19 (Reuters) - Ride services company
Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] has been thrust deeper into
turmoil with the departure of company president Jeff Jones, a
marketing expert hired to help soften its often abrasive image.
    Jones quit less than seven months after joining the San
Francisco company, an Uber spokesman said on Sunday.
    In a statement to Reuters, Jones said he could not continue
as president of a business with which he was incompatible.
    "I joined Uber because of its mission, and the challenge to
build global capabilities that would help the company mature and
thrive long term," Jones said.
    "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," he added. Jones wished
the "thousands of amazing people at the company" well.
    Jones' role was put into question after Uber earlier this
month launched a search for a chief operating officer to help
run the company alongside Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.
    Jones had been performing some of those COO
responsibilities. He joined Uber from Target Corp <TGT.N>, where
he was chief marketing officer and is credited with modernizing
the retailer's brand.
    "We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and
wish him all the best," an Uber spokesman said in an emailed
statement.
    Uber's vice president of maps and business platform, Brian
McClendon, said separately he plans to leave the company at the
end of the month to explore politics.
    "I'll be staying on as an adviser," McClendon said in a
statement to Reuters. "This fall's election and the current
fiscal crisis in Kansas is driving me to more fully participate
in our democracy."
    Jones and McClendon are the latest in a string of high-level
executives to leave the company.
    Last month, engineering executive Amit Singhal was asked to
resign due to a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his
previous job at Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google. Earlier this
month, Ed Baker, Uber's vice president of product and growth,
and Charlie Miller, Uber's famed security researcher, departed.
    Technology news site Recode first reported Jones' departure
on Sunday.
    Uber, while it has long had a reputation as an aggressive
and unapologetic startup, has been battered with multiple
controversies over the last several weeks that have put
Kalanick's leadership capabilities and the company's future into
question.
    A former Uber employee last month published a blog post
describing a workplace where sexual harassment was common and
went unpunished. The blog post prompted an internal
investigation that is being led by former U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder.
    Then, Bloomberg released a video that showed Kalanick
berating an Uber driver who had complained about cuts to rates
paid to drivers, resulting in Kalanick making a public apology.
    And earlier this month Uber confirmed it had used a secret
technology program dubbed "Greyball," which effectively changes
the app view for specific riders, to evade authorities in cities
where the service has been banned. Uber has since prohibited the
use of Greyball to target local regulators.
    Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc's
self-driving car division that accuses it of stealing designs
for autonomous car technology known as Lidar. Uber has said the
claims are false.
    Jones joined Uber in August and was widely expected to be
Kalanick's No. 2. Jones was tasked with overseeing the bulk of
Uber's global operations, including leading the ride-hailing
program, running local Uber services in every city, marketing
and customer service, and working with drivers.
    The Independent Drivers Guild, an organization that
advocates for Uber drivers, on Sunday was critical that Jones
"has left the company without making a single improvement to
help drivers struggling to make a living," said Ryan Price,
executive director of the guild.

 (Reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco and Subrat
Patnaik in Bengaluru, Editing by Alistair Bell, Himani Sarkar
and Gopakumar Warrier)
 ((Heather.Somerville@thomsonreuters.com;)(415)(321-2320;
Reuters Messaging: Follow me on Twitter @heathersomervil))

Keywords: UBER JEFFJONES/ (UPDATE 3)



This article appears in: World Markets , Stocks , World Markets , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: GOOGL , TGT


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