Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Uber PR boss Rachel Whetstone latest to quit company

Uber’s head of communications has become the latest executive to leave the embattled ride-sharing firm. 

Chief executive Travis Kalanick confirmed Rachel Whetstone’s departure in an all-staff email on Tuesday. 

No reason has been given for her resignation, though it follows months of turbulence at Uber. 

Ms Whetstone joined the company from Google in 2015. “I am incredibly proud of the team we have built,” she said in a leaving statement. 

"Just as when I left Google, a strong and brilliant woman will be taking my place. 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.” 

Jill Hazelbaker, who had deputized for Ms Whetstone, will take over. Uber would not say if the move would be immediate. 

Mr Kalanick emailed staff on Tuesday afternoon to share the news - and with it, attached a picture of himself and Ms Whetstone on a recent hiking trip. 

"I am looking forward to having her as an advisor for years to come,” he wrote. 

“With many more long hikes along the Skyline Trail.” 

He added: "Rachel was way ahead of the game when it came to many of the changes we needed to make as a company to ensure our future success - from promoting cross-functional teamwork to improving diversity and inclusion.” 

Out the door

This year has seen Uber struggle under the weight of negative press. 

A campaign to “#deleteuber” is said to have cost the company hundreds of thousands of accounts, though it is hard to be sure of the genuine impact. 

Serious accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination made by a former employee prompted the firm to launch an internal investigation led by Eric Holder, former president Barack Obama’s top police chief. 

Mr Kalanick was in February filmed in a car berating an Uber driver after he complained about low fares. 

And the future of the company's self-driving car programme is under serious threat thanks to a lawsuit claiming Otto - acquired by Uber - stole self-driving technology from Google. 

And then there were the resignations: Amit Singhal, who had been Uber’s head of engineering, left after it emerged he failed to disclose a sexual harassment allegation at his former employer, Google. 

Then last month, Uber’s president Jeff Jones left the company after only six months in the job. 

And now Rachel Whetstone who, unlike Mr Jones, has left the company on seemingly civil terms. 

That said, the timing of her departure will do little to help the company as it continues to roll-out its presumably long-term strategy for restoring Uber’s reputation.

Source : BBC Tecnlogy