Uber's PR head resigns amid tumultuous time for company

Uber's Travis Kalanick loses another exec as comms chief Rachel Whetsone quits

2017 has been a year of controversies for Uber and continues to be one, after Rachel Whetstone, the company's head of policy and communications (Public Relations) announced her resignation today. Though both Whetstone and Uber are painting the departure as amicable, The New York Times reports that Whetstone and Kalanick, both individuals with strong personalities, clashed over how to handle external communications.

Whetstone follows other high-profile executives who have left Uber in recent months.

Jill Hazelbaker-a former Google employee and Whetstone's deputy at Uber- is slated to take over as senior vice president of Global Public Policy and Communications. In a memo to employees, CEO Travis Kalanick called her a "force of nature" who was "was way ahead of the game when it came to numerous changes we needed to make as a company". Every fortnight or so, a senior Uber official announces their departure from the company. Its head of engineering left after revelations of a previous sexual harassment investigation came to light and its top product exec left due to questionable personal behavior at a company event with another employee. According to Recode, Whetstone was exhausted of the drama but investors have also been complaining about the bad press that Uber receives.

The following month, a female engineer who previously worked at Uber made allegations of sexual harassment and sexism that she had been subjected to while working at the ride-hailing company.

Ed Baker, the vice president of product and growth, left a few days later.

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Jeff Jones, the second in command to Kalanick, said last month he was quitting after six months on the job because of concerns over the firm's management culture. The company even has a special hashtag, #DeleteUber, dedicated to it on social media, consolidating anti-Uber sentiment.

In January, protesters barricaded Uber's headquarters in San Francisco over Kalanick's decision to sit on President Donald Trump's economic advisory council. The dashboard cam video showed a heated argument on Uber's history of lowering fares.

Uber was hit with even more bad news in February when Google's parent company, Alphabet, filed a lawsuit alleging that Uber stole trade secrets that it then used to launch its self-driving vehicle service.

None of this reflects in Kalanick's statement about the departure.

After footage of the row emerged, Kalanick admitted he needed "leadership help".


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