Jeff Jones, the former Target CMO who joined Uber less than a year ago as President of Silicon Valley’s priciest ‘decacorn’, is leaving the company, according to Recode. Jones is reportedly exiting as the company deals with a flurry of recent controversies, including allegations of sexual harassment and an embarrassing video that surfaced last month of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick berating an Uber driver. Kalanick also recently announced a search for a COO to help him better steer the ship, though it’s unclear whether the layering of the executive management team affected Jones’ decision to leave. Per Recode:
Jeff Jones, the president of Uber, is quitting the car-hailing company after less than a year. The move by the No. 2 exec, said sources, is directly related to the multiple controversies there, including explosive charges of sexism and sexual harassment.
Jones, said sources, determined that this was not the situation he signed on for, especially after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced a search for a new COO to help him right the very troubled ship.
That was not the reason for Jones’ departure, sources said, even though it meant that Kalanick was bringing in a new exec who could outrank him. Instead, these sources said, Jones determined that the situation at the company was more problematic than he realized.
Jones spent much of the beginning of his tenure as president meeting with drivers and attempting to address the concerns of the people that serve as the face of the company. In the earlier months of his tenure he penned a letter to drivers saying, “It’s clear that there’s much we can be doing better. Listening is where we get our best ideas, because they come from you, the people using Uber every day.”
Of course, any goodwill that was potentially built with drivers through Jones efforts was likely quickly erased by a 3:50 video posted last month by one driver who captured his heated exchange with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on video and subsequently shared it with Bloomberg. The conversation started off with the driver complaining that Uber was “raising the standards, and dropping the prices” and culminated with Kalanick storming out of the car after condescendingly telling the driver to “take responsibility for his own shit.”
“Bullshit. Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”
Of course that latest mishap, just added to what has already been a relatively rough couple of months for Uber which has included everything from patent infringement lawsuits to sexual harassment charges to Kalanick being forced to resign from Trump’s business advisory council. Per Bloomberg:
In December, Uber pulled its self-driving cars off the road in San Francisco after the California Department of Motor Vehicles said they were operating illegally without an autonomous vehicle license. In January, more than 200,000 people uninstalled their accounts, and #DeleteUber trended on Twitter, after the company was accused of undermining a New York taxi union strike protesting President Donald Trump’s refugee ban. On Feb. 2, Kalanick reluctantly left his spot on Trump’s business advisory council to appease the company’s liberal-leaning employees and users—not to mention its many immigrant drivers. On Feb. 19, a former software engineer at Uber wrote a blog post alleging that she had been propositioned for sex by her manager and that when she’d taken the issue to human resources, an HR rep had said that he wouldn’t be punished, in part, because he was a “high performer.” On Feb. 23, Alphabet’s autonomous car company Waymo sued Uber and its self-driving car company Otto, accusing an Uber employee of stealing trade secrets by downloading 14,000 files onto an external hard drive. On Monday, Uber’s head of engineering resigned after the company said it learned that he had faced a sexual harassment complaint at Alphabet, his former employer. He denied the allegations.
Uber has not yet confirmed Jones’ departure.