Uber’s global policy and communications chief Rachel Whetstone is the latest executive to leave amid a series of controversies including an investigation into sexism and sexual harassment that have bashed the public image of the ride-hailing company.
Whetstone joined Uber in 2015 from Google. Her deputy, Jill Hazelbaker, will take over leading the 300-person policy and communications team as senior vice president of policy and communications, according to a memo sent to employees by CEO Travis Kalanick and first obtained by technology news outlet Recode.
Sources close to company told Recode tensions had flared with Kalanick, with some investors blaming bad press for Uber’s troubles that include a lawsuit by Google parent Alphabet that alleges Uber stole driverless car technology.
In a statement, Whetstone said: “I am incredibly proud of the team that we’ve built –– and that just as when I left Google, a strong and brilliant woman will be taking my place.”
Kalanick’s at times frat-like behavior over the company’s eight-year history has come into sharper focus in recent months, as Uber battles public relations gaffes.
An internal probe looking into ex-engineer Susan Fowler’s accusations of discrimination against female employees will be made public when it concludes in late April. The probe, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, is relying in part on tip-lines where employees can relate their tales anonymously.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jessica Guynn