Uber President Quits After Six Months as the Hits Keep Coming
Jeff Jones cited concerns over management in a statement.
Uber's disastrous start to the year got even tougher over the weekend, as the ride-sharing company's president Jeff Jones has decided to leave after just six months on the job. In a pointed statement, Jones didn't refer to the sexual harassment allegations, Waymo lawsuit, secret tracking tools, safety concerns, public relations missteps, or toxic work culture directly, but he left little doubt the multitude of scandals that have overwhelmed Uber since January were simply too much, and the plan to seek outside help in a new COO not enough.
"The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber," Jeff Jones said in the statement.
Uber poached Jones from Target last August in a splashy hire, publicizing his role as a sign the company was maturing and getting ready to scale up. In a statement to staff announcing his departure, CEO Travis Kalanick pointed to the COO search - a move that came in the aftermath of video showing him arguing with one of Uber's drivers - as the reason Jones decided to move on, implying the new executive would effectively outrank him. But sources told Recode that Jones decided the company's multiple ongoing problems were too far beyond his control, and the situation became untenable.
Though Jones is the biggest executive to leave this year, he's just the latest in a recent wave of high-profile departures from Uber. A director in the self-driving division, a co-director of the internal artificial intelligence research arm, and the vice president of product and growth have all resigned this year. Additionally, Uber was forced to ask for the resignation of one of its top engineers after it emerged he failed to disclose allegations of sexual harassment in his past. And this weekend the vice president of the mapping division announced his impending departure, although it's said to be amicable and he'll remain an adviser.
Uber has a serious amount of problems for a outfit worth tens of billions of dollars that's aiming to go public this year in a huge way, and losing Jones as the "adult in the room" as the New York Times puts it will surely complicate that picture. In the meantime the company being is run by "brilliant jerks," according to board member Arianna Huffington - that's one fine line to walk.