The Uber exodus continues. Uber President Jeff Jones announced his resignation on Sunday, followed by Brian McClendon, VP of Maps and Business Platforms.
To put Uber’s last month in perspective, we made up a timeline. But we couldn’t fit everything onto one timeline, so we made two. One for the stream of crises and another for the high-level execs that have stepped down since February.
The “Timeline of Turmoil” starts with ex-Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s bombshell blog post alleging rampant sexism and discrimination during her year at the company, followed by an independent investigation into her allegations led by former Attorney General Eric Holder. Just as that was getting underway, crisis hit again — and again — in the form of a patent-infringement lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, and a dashcam video of CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver. Not even a week later, the New York Times reported that Uber had been using a feature called “Greyball” to show investigators a fake view of the Uber cars on the road nearby, and then on March 7, Kalanick decided he needed help and announced his search for a COO.
The second timeline is evidence that the effect of these problems are being felt at the highest levels:
Uber’s head of engineering, head of product and growth, several well respected engineers, its VP of maps and its President — all gone. The CFO post, by the way, has been vacant since March 2015.
Now, Kalanick has to find a COO — a seasoned executive to be the adult at the table (shoes that were seen as filled by Jeff Jones). That’s an increasingly difficult proposition as Uber’s reputation continues to be tarnished.
The findings of the Holder-led investigation are expected in the coming weeks and we could see even more departures. Arianna Huffington told CNBC that no “brilliant jerks” will be spared.
Kalanick’s own CEO position, though, seems safe. Three of the seven voting members on Uber’s board are insiders — Kalanick, Garrett Camp (an Uber co-founder) and Ryan Graves (a former Uber CEO).
Three of the remaining voting members represent investors: TPG’s David Bonderman, Benchmark’s Bill Gurley, Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Yasir Al Rumayyan. Arianna Huffington is the seventh and final voting board member.
There are also two non-voting members: David Plouffe, who was Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2008 and recently joined the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to lead policy efforts there; and Cheng Wei, the CEO of Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Kuaidi, which purchased Uber’s Chinese operations in 2016.