Amidst more than a few recent controversies, Uber’s president has quit.
After less than a year as the number two executive at the car-hailing company Uber, Jeff Jones has decided to call it quits. Sources in the company have stated that the move is directly related to the recent controversies facing the company, including claims of sexual harassment and lawsuits. The decision comes shortly after Uber started looking for a new COO, who would have outranked Jones. However, sources claim that this had nothing to do with his choice to step down.
Uber confirmed the story, saying in a statement: “We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best.” And, in a note to staff, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said: “After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber.” In a statement to Recode, Jones added: “It is now clear […] 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.”
Jeff Jones joined Uber last fall, leaving his previous job as CMO of Target, and was touted as a big hire. One of his main tasks was to change Uber’s tainted public image. Kalanick and Jones had met just a year earlier, at a TED conference in Vancouver, where Uber was receiving a lot of attention from top executives. When Jones was hired, he replaced board member Ryan Graves, who had previously been CEO of the company, prior to Kalanick. Graves is now in charge of UberEverything, the company’s delivery business. The shift was seen as necessary as the company continued to grow.
During the start of his time at Uber, Jones spent a lot of time meeting, and trying to connect with, drivers. In an email, he wrote: “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.” Unfortunately, when Jones again attempted to reach out to drivers in February, it ended with angry comments flooding Jones’ Facebook page. This may have contribued to his decision to leave: “Jeff does not like conflict,” a source told reporters.