Amid numerous controversies at Uber, disillusioned President Jeff Jones steps down

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After serving less than a year as Uber Technologies Inc.’s president, Jeff Jones is quitting, reportedly deciding the ride-hailing giant’s many problems were worse than he realized.

The resignation and the reasons for it were first reported by Recode Sunday afternoon, but later Uber confirmed that Jones had decided to step down.

According to Recode’s sources, Jones’ decision was a direct consequence of a string of controversies surrounding the ride-hailing company. They include multiple accusations of sexual harassment and sexism within the company, Chief Executive Travis Kalanick’s participation in the Trump administration and the fall-out from that – notably the #DeleteUber movement – and recently leaked reports describing the problems the company is facing with its self-driving car technology.

Uber issued a vague statement wishing Jones all the best with future endeavors, but in a note to staff Kalanick was more forthcoming. “After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber,” said Kalanick. “It is unfortunate that this was announced through the press but I thought it was important to send all of you an email before providing comment publicly.”

Sources at Recode said Jones’ decision was partly because Uber hired a chief operating officer to help guide the company out of troubled waters. But the bigger reason, according to sources, was that Jones had simply become disillusioned with the company.

In a statement, also obtained by Recode, Jones said, “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.”

Uber hired Jones last year from U.S. retail giant Target Corp., where he was chief marketing officer. On being hired, he was seen by most to be a voice of reason and maturity at Uber, able enough to deal with the internal turmoil at the company.

Jones’ departure comes soon after other execs at Uber seemingly jumped ship during hard times. Last week Raffi Krikorian, a senior engineer at Uber, stepped down from his position at the company, although he did say he might return. In March, Gary Marcus, former head of AI labs at Uber, left the company. Not least, a month prior to that, Amit Singhal was asked to resign as senior vice president of engineering after failing to disclose upon application to Uber that he had been the focus of an internal sexual harassment investigation at Google Inc.

Image: Automobile Italia via Flickr