Uber's 2017 has been marked by upheaval.
Uber, the ride-hailing giant with a valuation of $70 billion, has been rocked by an unrelenting series of scandals and staff departures since the beginning of the year.
It started on Jan. 19, when the Federal Trade Commission hit Uber with a $20 million fine for misleading drivers about pay. Only a week later, a #DeleteUber campaign went viral after the company turned off surge pricing at New York's JFK airport during a taxi workers' strike against President Trump's travel ban. People were also angered that CEO Travis Kalanick had joined one of Trump's advisory boards. Within a few days, Kalanick had quit Trump's advisory board. But by early February, the New York Times reported that nearly 200,000 people removed Uber's app from their smartphones.
Then, on Feb. 19, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published an explosive blog post in which she alleged a systemic culture of sexual harassment and gender bias at the company. In response to Fowler's blog, Uber launched a harassment and discrimination investigation on Feb. 20 led by former attorney general Eric Holder and Uber board member Ariana Huffington. The investigation has already led to 20 firings.
Amidst all this, Uber has been facing a contentious lawsuit from its self-driving car rival. On Feb. 23, Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo sued Uber for theft of trade secrets and patent infringement. At the center of the suit is Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who worked for almost a decade on Alphabet's self-driving car efforts until he left to launch a self-driving truck startup called Otto. Not long after, Uber acquired Otto, and Levandowski became the head of its self-driving car program. In its suit, Alphabet alleges that Otto itself was a ruse designed to steal its self-driving car technology.
Throughout Uber's series of public crises, critics have questioned whether Kalanick is fit to continue leading the company. And on June 11, sources told BuzzFeed News that Kalanick is considering taking a leave of absence from Uber.
Holder's report on the investigation into the claims of sexual harassment at the company is expected to be released on June 13.
During this series of crises, Uber has lost several of its top executives. Here they are in chronological order:
1. Amit Singhal, senior vice president of engineering, Feb. 27
2. Ed Baker, vice president of product and growth, March 3
3. Gary Marcus, head of Uber's artificial intelligence lab, March 8
Marcus left Uber's newly created artificial intelligence lab just four months after Uber acquired his AI startup and created the lab. He said in a Facebook post he'd stay on as an adviser after he moved from California to New York.
4. Charlie Miller, senior engineer of autonomous vehicle security, March 8
5. Raffi Krikorian, senior engineer, March 15
6. Jeff Jones, president, March 19
7. Brian McClendon, vice president of maps, March 20
8. Rachel Whetstone, head of communications, April 11
9. Sherif Marakby, vice president of global vehicle programs, April 17
Before becoming part of Uber's self-driving car division, Marakby worked at Ford for 25 years. He left Uber to return to Ford to head up its self-driving car division.
10. Jim Callaghan, general counsel for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, May 23
Callaghan left Uber after less than a year without saying why.
11. Anthony Levandowski, head of self-driving cars, May 26
12. Gautam Gupta, head of finance, announced May 31
13. Eric Alexander, vice president of Uber in Asia, June 7
14. Emil Michael, senior vice president of business
Blake Montgomery is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Blake Montgomery at email@example.com.
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