As Uber Implodes, President Jeff Jones Cancels His Six-Month Ride

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
as uber implodes president jeff jones cancels his six month ride

Uber’s president Jeff Jones is quitting the car-hailing business after a brief six-month stretch.

Jones’ choice of a swift departure is essentially down to the company’s controversy laden decisions and apparent degenerate corporate culture. In addition to allegations of widespread sexual harassment, Uber has managed to routinely anger local governments by ignoring autonomous testing laws and by employing algorithms that denied service to potential investigators, regulators, or law enforcement officials. It’s also been accused of property theft, and CEO Travis Kalanick is exhibiting behavior unlikely to win people over.

It’s a real shit show.

Jones is just one of several Uber employees abandoning their posts, either because they’re fed up or forced out due to disharmony. The company fired its engineering VP after a serious sexual harassment investigation came to light via his previous employer Google. Its head of product left after questionable sexual behavior at a corporate event. And its senior director at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center left to “focus on the family.” And VP of maps and business platforms is leaving. And …, and …, and …

For Jones, the decision to quit came down to an incompatibility between himself and whatever the hell is going on over at Uber.

“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,” he said in a statement to Recode.

The final straw could be down to Kalanick’s choice to bring in a new COO to help him on damage control after his highly publicized altercation with one of his drivers. Although, according to sources, the issue there wasn’t so much that Jones was upset over Kalanick bringing in a new executive who could outrank him. Instead, it was that Uber created the new position to improve its gradually worsening image — the same task Uber brought on Jones to fix six-months earlier.

After being poached from Target, Jones started his work stint as president working as an Uber driver and meeting with employees to get a sense of what needed to be fixed.

“It’s clear that there’s much we can be doing better. Listening is where we get our best ideas, because they come from you, the people using Uber every day,” he said in an email to employees.

By February, some of those employees had turned on him in a public Q&A, posting angry comments while Jones did his utmost to reassure them.

“We are fixing the way we communicate with you and provide support to you — these are 100 percent about treating drivers with respect and as people. There is a lot that goes into earnings … things like earning on your way home with driver destinations or back-to-back trips or paid wait times beyond two minutes. Also, ensuring Uber is the first choice with riders. I am making sure that the Uber team knows drivers are our customers … our job is to make driving with Uber feel rewarding and worth your time,” he wrote.

With Jones gone, it’ll be up to someone else to make driving — and riding — with Uber feel rewarding and worth their time, and it isn’t clear who — if anyone — is up to the task.

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3 of 33 comments
  • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Mar 22, 2017

    All ride-sharing services are vulnerable. At their cores, Uber and Lyft are nothing more than software platforms that coordinate independent contractors. Essentially they are a giant phone book with only one type of business listing. How hard would it be for Google Maps to add a "Hail a driver now" button to their application? I'll bet a group of engineers could have it developed and working in a week. Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing software platforms are nothing more than middlemen between a consumer and a supplier. Ironically the very internet that enables their business, is very good at eliminating middlemen.

  • Philadlj Philadlj on Mar 22, 2017

    I've taken about a dozen Uber rides around Philly in the last year, and cannot report any problems. In every case they were easier, quicker and cheaper than securing a conventional cab ride. I used to knock it before I used it, but so far it's worked just fine for me.

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  • JMII Its an SUV so I am shocked they don't already offer it.
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