Tech: Uber's executive exodus: The 9 high-ranking execs to leave the troubled company
Uber execs are leaving at a stunning rate.
As Uber has faced a series of crises, it's been steadily losing top executives.
Since February, the ride-hailing company has lost its president and its heads of communications, finance, product, and its self-driving car division. In all, nine of its most senior executives have headed out the door — all for different reasons.
As Uber faces challenges on all fronts in 2017, here's who has left the company and who (if anyone) has stepped in to fill their roles:
Jeff Jones, former president of ridesharing
Departure: March 19
Replacement: None. Uber is searching for a COO instead.
When the company announced Jones' hire in August 2016, Kalanick lauded him for his experience as a Target's chief marketing officer and was excited about what he would bring to the ride-hailing giant. Jones' role as president meant he was in charge of all of Uber's operations, marketing, and customer support around the globe.
But Jones ended up leaving after less than a year at the company. In a statement sent to Recode, Jones said he was leaving because "the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber."
Rachel Whetstone, former SVP of Global Policy and Communications
Departure: April 11
Replacement: Jill Hazelbaker
Whetstone joined Uber in 2015 from Google. As soon as she started, she revamped Uber's communications strategy and attempted to rein in Uber's free-wheeling cities, which had caused more than a few PR problems.
But Whetstone quit suddenly in April amid a torrent of negative headlines for the company. "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," Whetstone said in her farewell statement.
Gautam Gupta, former Head of Finance
Departure: July (announced on May 31)
Replacement: Uber is searching for a CFO with public company experience. Its temporary finance chief is Prabir Adarkar, who also serves as its head of strategic finance.
Gupta had run Uber's finances since the departure of its last CFO in 2015, but the company never officially gave him the CFO title. Gupta joined Uber from Goldman Sachs more than four years ago. He'll be leaving in July to join a startup in an unrelated field, where he'll serve as COO.
Anthony Levandowski, former head of Advanced Technologies Group
Departure: May 30
Replacement: Eric Meyhofer
Uber fired Levandowski, the former head of its self-driving-car program, over his refusal to cooperate in its legal battle with Waymo. Uber had been asking Levandowski for months to assist with its internal investigation for its defense against Waymo's charges, but he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself against self-incrimination.
Despite not being named in the lawsuit, Levandowski's actions have been at the center of the legal battle between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving-car operation owned by Google parent company Alphabet. Waymo has accused Levandowski, a former star Google engineer, of downloading 14,000 files before he left Google and then using that information to jump-start Uber's self-driving-car program.
Amit Singhal, former SVP of engineering and advisor to Travis Kalanick
Departure: February 27
Google's former search chief came back out of retirement in January 2017 to join Uber as its new senior vice president of engineering. In the role, Singhal was in charge of overseeing engineering on Uber's marketplace and maps teams — two key departments that touch the core of Uber's business — and advising Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick. However, Uber asked Singhal to resign a month after he joined the company after published reports disclosed that sexual-harassment allegations were made against him at his previous job, which he hadn't disclosed to Uber.
Ed Baker, former VP of Product and Growth
Departure: March 3
Replacement: Daniel Graf, VP of Product
Baker resigned suddenly under mysterious circumstances in March after three years at the company. He had joined Uber from Facebook where he was leading international growth. At Uber, Baker oversaw the engineers, product managers, and marketing teams that were trying to attract both new riders and drivers to the platform.
Brian McClendon, former VP of Maps and Business Platform
Departure: March 28
Replacement: Manik Gupta
McClendon joined Uber in 2015 from Google, where he was known as the "maps guy," because he had been an early leader in the creation of Google Maps and Google Earth. After initially overseeing Uber's Advanced Technologies Center, McClendon returned to his specialty, becoming the company's VP of Maps and Business Platform.
He left the company to return to his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas to explore politics. "This fall's election and the current fiscal crisis in Kansas is driving me to more fully participate in our democracy — and I want to do that in the place I call home," he reportedly said. "I believe in Uber's mission and the many talented people working there to make it a reality and that's why I have agreed to stay on as an adviser."
Gary Marcus, former head of Uber AI Labs
Departure: March 8
Replacement: Zoubin Ghahramani, Uber's Chief Scientist
Marcus joined Uber in December 2016 to much fanfare from the company. Uber had acquired his 15-person startup, Geometric Intelligence, and brought Marcus in to lead its new AI Lab. However, the exec left after just four months on the job to spend more time with his family. He's now a "special advisor" for Uber's AI efforts.
Sherif Marakby, former VP of Global Vehicle Programs
Departure: April 17
Marakby joined Uber in April 2016 and helped launch its self-driving car effort. Although his departure a year later came amid the lawsuit with Waymo over autonomous car technology, Uber says it was unrelated to the legal dispute.
Before his one-year stint at Uber, Marakby spent 25 years at Ford, eventually working as its director of global electronics and engineering. He's now back at Ford to lead the car giant's self-driving car unit.
And it's not just the top execs that are leaving. Longtime Uber managers, like Josh Mohrer, who ran its NYC operation, have departed in recent months.
Josh Mohrer left Uber in May after five years at the ride-hailing company. He built Uber's operations in New York City — often in a controversial and contentious way — but was critical to expanding the company's empire.
Raffi Krikorian departed Uber in February to move with his family back to California. He joined the company in March 2015 and led its team of more than 50 self-driving car engineers in Pittsburgh as the senior director of engineering for its Advanced Technologies Group.
Brian Tolkin left in May after building UberPool into one of the company's most popular products. As UberPool's first product manager, Tolkin was one of the biggest cheerleaders for how shared rides could change transportation around the world. There's no word about what he'll do next.
Charlie Miller jumped to Uber rival Didi Chuxing in March 2017 to work on the Chinese company's autonomous vehicles. After making a name for himself by hacking a Jeep Cherokee and stopping it remotely, the security engineer was a marquee hire for Uber when he joined the company in 2015.