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Rachel Whetstone, Uber’s head of communications and policy, is leaving the company following a months long public relations crisis that has left the ride-hailing giant’s reputation in tatters.
Whetstone, who joined Uber in 2015 after a long stint overseeing communications at Google, has struggled to get Uber back on message amid a string of negative publicity, including high-profile allegations of sexual harassment inside the company, a lawsuit accusing Uber of using stolen technology and ongoing criticism about an unhealthy, win-at-all-costs internal culture.
According to memo to employees from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Whetstone “decided” to leave the company. Kalanick did not elaborate on why Whetstone was leaving, but praised her talent and said he was “looking forward to having her as an advisor for years to come.”
Whetstone will be replaced by Jill Hazelbaker as Senior Vice President of Global Policy Communications. Hazelbaker worked for Whetstone at Google and joined Uber in 2015, shortly after Whetstone arrived. News of Whetstone’s departure and Hazelbaker’s promotion were first reported by Recode.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, 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. I joined Uber because I love the product-and that love is as strong today as it was when I booked my very first ride six years ago.”
Whetstone is the latest high-profile depature at Uber in recent weeks. Uber President Jeff Jones, who had been recruited from Target, left in March after only six months. And Ed Baker, Uber’s VP of Product and Growth, left the same month.
Meanwhile, sources have told Business Insider that attracting new employees and bolstering internal morale has become increasingly difficult as the company tries to overcome its tarnished reputation.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick acknowledged some of the problems last month and announced that he would hire a COO to help him manage the fast-growing company. Uber is valued at roughly $69 billion by private market investors and is most highly-anticipated potential candidates for a public offering.
Here’s a copy of Kalanick’s email to employees about the changes: