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Uber Loses Yet Another President, Here’s Why

How horrific would your boss have to be for you to quit your job after only six months?  Apparently, things at Uber are getting so rough that Jeff Jones, the President of the company, resigned this past Sunday, March 19th, according to Recode, who initially broke the story.  His boss, Travis Kalanick, continues to man the helm of the sinking ship that is Uber.

Particularly scathing were his parting remarks, made public courtesy of Recode:

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.

Ouch.  Jones’ departure comes amidst a flurry of drama for the ride-hailing company.  Beset on all sides by lawsuits and legal challenges both domestically and abroad, Uber’s position in the marketplace is strained.  The company has yet to even turn a profit, according to Bloomberg.  Mr. Jones knew all of this when he signed on to be the new president roughly six months prior to his departure.  What he did not anticipate was the loose cannon that would be sitting in the office next door.

Travis Kalanick is what happens when a thirty-something man-child with a track record of sketchy business dealings and a profane, misogynistic public persona falls face first into a leading a multi-billion-dollar company.  The results should have been predictable.  First, accusations of unfair business practices.  Next, a lawsuit alleging that Uber stole software.  Then, a bombshell of a tale from a former employee, detailed on her blog, describing a culture of apathy towards systemic mistreatment of women.  Most recently, Kalanick was filmed arguing with an Uber driver after a ride.  It’s no wonder that the adults in the room are exiting stage left as quickly as possible.  In addition to their president, Uber lost no fewer than five senior employees over the past month, according to Vanity Fair.

The original idea behind Uber was and is still a remarkable idea.  By cutting out the middleman, drivers could make more money while consumers paid less.  It is the quintessential win-win.  The descent into the current quagmire was brought on solely by a series of poor leadership decisions rooted in Kalanick’s questionable character.  In his quest for market share, driver fees were slashed over and over again.  In some areas of the country, fares do not even cover the federal mileage cost of $0.54.  Since much of that figure is tied up in maintenance and depreciation, many drivers do not realize they are actually losing money each day, and Kalanick is happy to take advantage of those contractors.  Not the best business model. As for his actual employees, while their pay may be competitive, their treatment apparently is not.  Company culture is set at the highest levels and only exists with the permission, if not the outright support, of senior leadership.

Uber will continue to hemorrhage money, drivers, and employees as long as its toxic CEO remains in the driver’s seat.  Even with a solid business model, strong leadership matters.  Moral failings at any level of management, much less the at highest rungs, can and do lead to financial ruin.  Just ask the former employees of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Enron, or WorldCom.

Read More From Dan Ingram

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