Uber’s string of scandals in 2017 has not yet led a large number of customers to stop using the app, according to New York City taxi commission data.
But the problems are wreaking havoc on Uber’s upper executive ranks.
As of April 18, Uber has lost 8 high-ranking executives in under two months. The exodus suggests some doubt among Uber’s own workforce that the company, and embattled CEO Travis Kalanick, can really fix its culture and improve its brand image. Kalanick, for his part, has said “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” but has not stepped down from the CEO role.
Here’s a running list of Uber’s recent executive exits. The newest departures are at the top. Yahoo Finance will continue to update this post.
Sherif Marakby, VP of global vehicle programs, April 18
Marakby was running Uber’s self-driving car program, which has hit a number of speed bumps and shut down in San Francisco in December. In a statement to the press, Marakby said, “Self-driving is one of the most interesting challenges I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m grateful to have contributed to what will soon be a safer future for everyone.”
Uber told Automotive News that Marakby’s departure isn’t related to the ongoing lawsuit against Uber from Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google.
Rachel Whetstone, head of communications, April 11
The PR person who previously helped Uber navigate corporate messes might have decided that the latest series of crises are too difficult to fix. Whetstone and Kalanick “occasionally clashed over how to handle external communications, especially in times of crisis,” the New York Times reported. In her own statement at the time, Whetstone said, “I joined Uber because I love the product — and that love is as strong today as it was when I booked my very first ride six years ago.”
Brian McClendon, VP of maps, March 20
A former 10-year veteran of Google, McClendon was overseeing Uber’s maps division. The company announced that McClendon “is departing amicably from Uber and will be an adviser to the company.” McClendon, in his own statement, said he would return to his home state of Kansas to get involved in politics.
Jeff Jones, president, March 19
The departure of Jeff Jones, who was basically second-in-command to Kalanick, was seen as a big loss for Uber, especially because Jones did not appear to sugarcoat his reasons for leaving. “It is now clear,” he said in a statement, “that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber.” Now in the wake of recent issues, Kalanick has said that Uber is seeking a COO.
Gary Marcus, head of artificial intelligence lab, March 8
Marcus was leading Uber’s brand new AI Labs, but left after just four months, which did not look like a promising sign for the division.
Ed Baker, VP of product and growth, March 3
Baker resigned in the same week as Amit Singhal, creating “another disastrous week for Uber,” as Quartz wrote. The company did not comment on his departure, nor did Baker, adding to the impression that he left due to Uber’s various PR nightmares.
Amit Singhal, SVP of engineering, Feb. 27
The mess regarding Amit Singhal was particularly bad for Uber, which reportedly asked Singhal to resign after it discovered he did not disclose, when hired by Uber, that he had left Google because of allegations of sexual harassment. The story came shortly after a former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, wrote a blog post alleging harassment at Uber.
Raffi Krikorian, senior director of self-driving software, Feb. 23
Brought on in 2015 to head up Uber’s ATC (Advanced Technologies Center) in Pittsburgh, Krikorian left Uber not long after Uber acquired self-driving tech company Otto. Krikorian tweeted, “Thanks, ATC, for everything.”