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Uber President Jones Quits Amid Turmoil and Search for COO (1)

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 20/03/2017 Eric Newcomer

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. President Jeff Jones is quitting after less than a year, amid multiple controversies engulfing the ride-hailing company.

The scandals range from allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic work culture to the combative behaviour of Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick. After Bloomberg published a video on Feb. 28 showing Kalanick berating an Uber driver, he said he would seek “leadership help” and was planning to hire a chief operating officer. The plan was viewed internally as an effective demotion for Jones, who was hired last year as president of ride-sharing and second in command, a person familiar with the matter said.

In an email to staff on Sunday, Kalanick said Jones “made an important impact on the company” during his six months there. “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, according to a copy of the email obtained by Bloomberg.

Jones decided to leave because the long string of controversies are not what he signed on for when he left his post as chief marketing officer at Target Corp., according to Recode, which reported his departure earlier Sunday. Jones’s purview at the closely held company included Uber’s brand, which took a beating during his short tenure, largely for reasons beyond his control.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” Uber wrote in an emailed statement.

Uber has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons this year. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing app was accused of undermining a taxi strike against U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in January. Kalanick stepped down from Trump’s business advisory council after a #DeleteUber movement began to pick up steam. In February, a former employee wrote a blog post about her experiences of sexual harassment while working for the company, and Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous car company Waymo for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

(Updates with Uber CEO’s email to staff in the third paragraph.)

--With assistance from Kevin Miller

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at enewcomer@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Kevin Miller

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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