Updated 5:53 pm, Sunday, March 19, 2017
Uber President Jeff Jones said Sunday that he has quit the San Francisco ride-hailing company, saying the culture at the hard-charging and often polarizing startup clashed with his professional convictions.
Jones’ resignation, which comes after six months on the job, marks the latest blow in what’s been a turbulent few months for the popular ride-services app. Several high-level executives have resigned, and the company is reeling from allegations of sexual harassment.
“The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber and I could no longer continue as president of the ridesharing business,” Jones said in a statement to The Chronicle.
Uber Technologies Inc. spokeswoman Sophie Schmidt confirmed Jones’ departure Sunday, saying that the company wanted to “thank Jeff for this six months at the company and wish him all the best.” Schmidt declined to discuss the issue further.
Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press
Jones was responsible for Uber’s operations, marketing and customer support worldwide. He came to Uber last August from Target, where he worked as the retailer’s chief marketing officer. His move to Uber was widely seen as a way for the company to soften its image as a brash, aggressive company.
In a statement announcing Jones’ hiring, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the two had met at a conference in Vancouver.
“Within minutes we were debating how Uber could improve its reputation,” Kalanick said.
Several high-level personnel changes have taken place at the company recently.
Last month, Amit Singhal, Uber’s former senior vice president of engineering, resigned from the company after reports emerged that he failed to disclose a sexual harassment allegation made against him while he was employed at Google. Singhal has denied the allegation.
This month also saw the departure of Ed Baker, Uber’s former vice president of product and growth, who left the company after three years, reportedly citing his desire to work in the public sector.
Just days before that, Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, penned an explosive public post online that chronicled what she described as a deeply embedded culture of sexism and sexual harassment at the company that was allowed to persist because of dysfunctional leadership.
Fowler’s post in part prompted Kalanick to launch a search for a chief operating officer for Uber, “a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey,” Kalanick wrote on the company’s blog this month.
Uber was also criticized in January for appearing to take advantage of protests in New York against President Trump’s immigration ban by eliminating surge pricing. Critics saw that as a way to break a strike aimed at the ban. Uber has said it had no intention of breaking the strike.
The move gave rise to a viral #DeleteUber campaign aimed at getting users to get rid of the app.
Chronicle columnist Thomas Lee contributed to this report.
Dominic Fracassa is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @dominicfracassa