Uber president Jeff Jones quits, deepening turmoil

Uber president Jeff Jones has quit less than seven months after joining the company, throwing Uber Technologies into turmoil.
Uber president Jeff Jones has quit less than seven months after joining the company, throwing Uber Technologies into turmoil.PHOTO: JEFF JONES/FACEBOOK

SAN FRANCISCO • Ride services company Uber Technologies 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.

Mr Jones quit less than seven months after joining the company, an Uber spokesman said on Sunday. In a statement to Reuters, Mr 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," said Mr Jones.

"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.

Mr 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. He had been performing some of those COO responsibilities. He joined Uber from Target Corp, where he was chief marketing officer and is credited with modernising the retailer's brand.

Uber's vice-president of maps and business platform, Mr Brian McClendon, said separately that he plans to leave the company at the end of the month to explore politics.

Mr Jones and Mr 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 because of a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his previous job at Alphabet's Google. Earlier this month, vice-president of product and growth Ed Baker and Mr Charlie Miller, Uber's famed security researcher, departed.

Uber has been battered with multiple controversies over the last several weeks. A former Uber employee last month published a blog post describing a workplace where sexual harassment was common and went unpunished. Then, Bloomberg released a video that showed Mr Kalanick berating an Uber driver who had complained about cuts to rates paid to drivers, resulting in Mr Kalanick making a public apology.

Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet's self-driving car division, which accuses it of stealing designs.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'Uber president Jeff Jones quits, deepening turmoil'. Print Edition | Subscribe