Uber is los­ing an­other exec

Ryan Graves will step down next month but re­main on the board as the ride-hail­ing firm looks for a CEO.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Tracey Lien tracey.lien@la­times.com Twit­ter: @traceylien Times staff writer Paresh Dave con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Ryan Graves, the ride-hail­ing firm’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of global op­er­a­tions, will step down.

SAN FRAN­CISCO — The ex­ec­u­tive ex­o­dus con­tin­ued at Uber on Thurs­day, with the com­pany’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of global op­er­a­tions, Ryan Graves, an­nounc­ing he will leave the com­pany in mid-Septem­ber.

In an email to staff, Graves said he will re­main on Uber’s board of di­rec­tors and fo­cus on its search for a new CEO. He did not give a rea­son for his de­par­ture be­yond his de­sire for change.

“In some ways my fo­cus go­ing for­ward will not ac­tu­ally change very much,” Graves said in the email. “It re­mains all about peo­ple, and it’s clear to me the sta­bil­ity of our board of di­rec­tors, the se­lec­tion of our new CEO, and the em­pow­er­ment of our man­age­ment team is what is needed most. So I will do every­thing in my power to de­liver on those goals for the ben­e­fit of our or­ga­ni­za­tion and the mil­lions of peo­ple — rid­ers, driv­ers, eaters and couri­ers — and their com­mu­ni­ties that Uber serves ev­ery day.”

Graves’ de­par­ture comes at a tu­mul­tuous time for the com­pany. Af­ter weath­er­ing months of scan­dals that cul­mi­nated in the oust­ing of sev­eral high-rank­ing em­ploy­ees and the res­ig­na­tion of Uber’s co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive, Travis Kalan­ick, the $70-bil­lion ride-hail­ing gi­ant is with­out a chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, a chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer, a chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, a head of busi­ness, a head of engi­neer­ing or a gen­eral coun­sel.

A long­time Uber em­ployee who pre­vi­ously served as its chief ex­ec­u­tive and gen­eral man­ager, Graves worked hand in hand with Kalan­ick to re­cruit and train the com­pany’s first driv­ers seven years ago in San Fran­cisco, ac­cord­ing to “The Up­starts,” a book about Airbnb and Uber. It was also Graves, the CEO at the time, who brought in the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm First Round Cap­i­tal as Uber’s first big in­vestor.

Graves will not be go­ing to an­other com­pany, ac­cord­ing to sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter. Uber is un­likely to re­place Graves be­cause many parts of the busi­ness un­der his purview, such as UberEats and UberRush, are man­aged by the com­pany’s head of Uber Every­thing, Jason Droege.

Uber’s board has in re­cent weeks in­ten­si­fied its search for a new chief ex­ec­u­tive, with re­ports last week that it had nar­rowed the search to three can­di­dates.

Uber has had a calami­tous year, with Kalan­ick’s res­ig­na­tion in June af­ter fac­ing pres­sure from in­vestors, and the de­par­ture of other high-profile ex­ec­u­tives, such as its head of busi­ness, head of engi­neer­ing and head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­mis­sioned by Uber’s board of di­rec­tors re­vealed a toxic cul­ture that en­abled dis­crim­i­na­tion, bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment.

In his email to staff, Graves ac­knowl­edged that Uber it­self was go­ing through a bumpy tran­si­tion, but he also framed the com­pany’s re­cent fall from grace as an op­por­tu­nity to turn things around.

“Con­fu­cius said that re­flec­tion is the no­blest method to learn wisdom,” Graves wrote. “And for­tu­nately, our new­found re­flec­tion and in­tro­spec­tion has be­come an as­set to us, and we have evolved and grown con­sid­er­ably.”

Ale­jan­dro Tamayo San Diego Union-Tri­bune

RYAN GRAVES, left, Uber’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of global op­er­a­tions, did not give a rea­son for leav­ing be­yond his de­sire for change. Above, Graves vis­its Ti­juana in 2016 with Uber man­ager Christo­pher Bal­lard.

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