In a copy of the email to staff seen by CNN Business, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Harford’s departure comes as a result of the company’s progress over the past two years. “Uber is in a far better spot both internally and externally, I now have the ability to be even more involved in the day-to-day operations of our businesses,” he wrote. “Given this, Barney and I have agreed that the COO role no longer makes sense, and he’s decided to leave Uber.”
Harford will remain at the company until July 1.
He was brought in by Khosrowshahi in December 2017 to be his right hand man. Khosrowshahi was previously the head of Expedia where Harford worked before becoming CEO of Orbitz, where they then became rivals.
Harford drew controversy during his relatively short tenure at the company. Last July, The New York Times reported that several employees raised concerns about Harford’s alleged racially insensitive comments. In a memo to coworkers shared with CNNMoney last July, Harford described allegations as “painful” and said he was “embarrassed.” He pledged to work with a coach who could challenge his “blind spots.”
As part of the leadership shakeup, two additional executives — one representing the Uber Eats team and the other representing Uber’s global rides business — will report directly to Khosrowshahi.
Messina had only been on the job for nine months. Khosrowshahi said she’s leaving as a result of a decision to combine its marketing, communications and policy teams into one, which will be led by Jill Hazelbaker, who has been at the company since 2015.
“There’s never really a right time to announce departures or changes like this, but with the IPO behind us, I felt this was a good moment to simplify our org and set us up for the future,” Khosrowshahi wrote.
The company faces an uphill battle to win over Wall Street investors concerned about its history of steep losses and slowing revenue growth. Additionally, there are broader concerns over the escalating trade war between the United States and China.
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