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Uber president quits abruptly after string of company scandals

Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News on

Published in Business News

SAN FRANCISCO -- In another sign of the turmoil sweeping Uber, the company's president of ride-sharing has quit after less than a year on the job, following a string of scandals at the startup and CEO Travis Kalanick's promise to hire a new second-in-command.

Kalanick on Sunday confirmed the departure of Jeff Jones in an email to employees obtained by The Mercury News.

"After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn't see his future at Uber," Kalanick wrote.

Jones, who joined Uber as president of ride-sharing in September after serving as chief marketing officer at Target, criticized the company in a statement to tech blog Recode.

"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," Jones wrote.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His sudden exit comes less than two weeks after Kalanick, scrambling to respond as accusations of sexual harassment, sexism and inappropriate managerial behavior shook the San Francisco-based ride-booking company, announced he would hire a chief operating officer to serve as his peer and partner.

Uber is losing one of its key executives following what has been a disastrous month for the startup worth nearly $70 billion. In February, a former Uber engineer accused the company of protecting a manager who solicited her for sex, which was followed by reports of managers sexually harassing and threatening employees. Then a video of Kalanick went viral, showing the CEO losing his temper while arguing with his Uber driver about fares. Not long after, Kalanick apologized and promised to get "leadership help," later saying that help would come in the form of a new chief operating officer.

Uber earlier this month also announced it would dismantle a secretive program that allowed it to evade undercover regulators trying to conduct stings on the company. And it is facing a potentially devastating lawsuit by competitors at Google's Waymo seeking to stymie its self-driving car efforts.

In the wake of this tumult, Jones is just the latest executive to resign. Vice President of Engineering Amit Singhal was pushed out last month after the company learned he was accused of sexual harassment while previously working at Google. Vice President of Product Ed Baker resigned shortly after.

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