It seems as if turmoil is not ending for Uber anytime soon. The latest news deepening the crisis is the exit of Company's President Jeff Jones, who had quit in less than seven months of his joining. Uber Technologies Inc had appointed Jeff Jones as the company President of the Ridesharing business to oversee the bulk of the global operations.
However, there is no clear reason for his departure but as per media, recent controversies could be too much for the President to handle. According to Recode, there were citing differences over beliefs and approach to leadership. Also, another reason reported in media, Jones’ role was put in question when the company began their search for chief operating Officer (COO). This doesn’t seem to go well with Jeff who thought the position might outrank him as he was performing certain COO responsibilities as well. Prior to Uber, Jones was working as chief marketing officer with Target Corp.
Off late, Uber has been in the soup for many reasons. Uber’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Division, Amit Singhal was recently asked to resign by Travis Kalanick as Amit had failed to disclose that his departure from Google was due to sexual harassment allegations. Apparently, Google insider found that the complaints against Singhal were ‘credible’. This is one of the very few instances (or probably the first) where a company has voluntarily asked a Senior Executive to resign for a past allegation in a different company. This has come at a time when Uber which is already facing a lot of flak for being a ‘sexist’ organizations as alleged by a former Uber female employee who wrote on her blog about various incidents of sexism at Uber, and also put the HR department under scrutiny.
Susan Fowler an engineer with Uber recently penned her journey in a blog post alleging that her supervisor and manager had propositioned her. To make matter worse, her complaints to the HR team within the company yielded no results. Her blog was then picked up by media and Uber coming under the scanner, Tech Crunch reported that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent a memo to his employees, informing them of investigations being undertaken and the company bringing in former US Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, partners at law firm Covington & Burling, to independently investigate the workplace issues.
In another controversy, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced criticism, when a dashcam video of him arguing with his own Uber driver surfaced on the internet. Later he made a public apology for the same.
Also recently, Uber had confirmed that it has used ‘Greyball’- a secret technology program to dodge authorities where services were banned in some parts of the city. In addition, Uber is also accused of stealing technology ‘Lidar’ and Alphabet Inc has filed a lawsuit against them in this regard.
But in light of several areas where the Uber leadership has been found wanting, are such stop-gaps measures really the solution? Many within the industry are doubtful that these investigations would change the status quo, with two early investors feeling “disappointed” and “frustrated” in light of Uber’s response to claims of sexual harassment at the company. Their disappointment lies in the fact that Uber has appointed a team of ‘insiders’ to investigate the allegations of toxic work culture, compromising the transparency and validity of such investigations.