He wasn’t even on the job for a year, but apparently Jeff Jones had seen all he needed to know Uber was not the place for him, as the embattled ride-sharing company’s president quit Sunday.
The news was first reported by Recode and later confirmed in a statement by Uber to multiple media outlets.
“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” an Uber spokesman said.
Jones first joined Uber in August 2016 after working as an executive at Target. As the No. 2 to controversial CEO Travis Kalanick, he headed the company’s ride-sharing operations, marketing and customer support divisions, per CNN. He was also expected to help serve as a counterpoint to Kalanick’s brash personality.
But Uber’s reputation has taken a hammering since the beginning of the year. At one point valued at more than $68 billion, the company was first hampered by Kalanick’s involvement with President Donald Trump. Before Trump was inaugurated, Kalanick joined his economic advisory forum, but resigned several weeks later over the backlash.
At the same time, social media users accused the company of attempting to undermine a taxi drivers’ strike related to Trump’s executive order on immigration by lowering prices at JFK Airport in New York City, where the strike was centered. People also noted that Kalanick was slower than many tech CEOs to condemn Trump’s order, and the hashtag #DeleteUber exploded on Twitter and Facebook.
Not long after that, a former employee alleged in a blog post that her superior sexually harassed her and other female employees, but that the company failed to punish him. As a result, Kalanick ordered an investigation, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder. Already, that investigation has led to the resignations of two top employees after allegations of sexual misconduct were uncovered, per Reuters.
Less than two weeks after that, video published by Bloomberg showed Kalanick getting into a heated argument with an Uber driver, who accused the company of not providing drivers with a living wage. The argument ended with Kalanick swearing at the driver and slamming the door as he left the car, per NBC News.
“I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” Kalanick said later in an apology email to the entire company. “This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”
A week later, it was revealed Uber had been using a secret tool called “Greyball” to avoid law enforcement officials and regulators in cities around the world. The company is also being sued by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, for allegedly stealing self-driving technology.
All told, the PR pile-up was too much for Jones, who told Recode 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, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business.”
Citing anonymous sources, Recode also reported that Jones felt the current crises facing the firm are not what he signed up for. In the wake of Kalanick’s video spat with the driver, he announced that he was looking to hire a COO to provide him with the “leadership help” he said he needed. That COO would have supplanted Jones as the company’s second-in-command.
It is unclear whether Kalanick’s search for a COO contributed to Jones’s departure.