Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford and heading of marketing Rebecca Messina are leaving the company, as Uber recently confirmed.
As CEO Dara Khosrowshahi noted in an Uber employee email: “This will allow me to be more hands on and help our leaders problem-solve in real time.”
If that is anything to go off of, the goal of the restructuring seems to be a streamlining of Uber’s teams, via team leaders reporting directly to Khosrowshahi.
The timing is perhaps surprising, however, considering Uber’s rocky first month on the stock market, after the company issued its initial public offering (IPO) in May. Uber’s shares traded lower than predicted, at $42, and haven’t gained much ground, only making it to $45.
COO Harford joined Uber in December 2017, working to clean up Uber’s public image after a series of scandals.
However, last July, Harford made his own headlines with insensitive comments directed at people of color and women in the company. While he wasn’t fired, after the incident he did admit that he was working with a coach to confront blind spots.
In Krosrowshahi’s employee email, he noted that due to his new approach, he and Harford realized that the COO position would “no longer make sense” and be redundant.
Messina had only been in her position for nine months. However, with Khosrowshahi combining communications, marketing and policy teams into one unified team, keeping the head marketing position no longer made sense.
Instead, Jill Hazelbaker, Uber’s senior VP of communications and public policy will head the three-part team moving forward.
As noted by Khosrowshahi, “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.”