After working at Uber for two years, Brian McClendon, Vice President of Maps, has quit. The news of Brian's departure comes a day after word about Uber’s President Jeff Jones leaving the company got out. According to a statement Uber gave to Recode, Brian's departure was amicable and he will act as an advisor to the company. The statement also said that he will be moving back to his home state of Kansas to explore politics.
The exit is believed to have been in the works for a while, and March 28 will be his last day. Brian's resignation is the latest in the list of top executives quitting or being asked to leave Uber, which has been in the eye of a storm for a while now.
It all began early this year with the #deleteuber campaign, followed by an explosive blog post by Susan Fowler, which threw light on the sexist and sweatshop work culture at Uber.
Trouble further brewed when Travis Kalanick, Founder and CEO, Uber, fired Amit Singhal, who had come in as VP Engineering, after finding out that Amit hadn’t disclosed the sexual harassment charges against him at Google. This was followed by the leaked video of Travis arguing with a driver. Pushed on the backfoot, Travis even announced the hunt for a COO.
However, according to Recode, Brian’s departure is different from the rest. Sources within the company told Recode that Uber is likely to see more departures now that staffers have cashed out their additional pay. Uber employees are believed to have received their bonuses on March 15 after their reviews.
Apart from this, Brian has also been named in the lawsuit that Alphabet has slapped on Uber. The lawsuit alleges that Anthony Levandowski, who joined Google after his startup Otto was acquired, stole a key feature of the self-driving system before leaving Google and joining Uber as the head of self-driving.
The Recode reports:
“Mr Levandowski had previously told me, in or around the summer of 2015, that he had talked with Brian McClendon, an Uber executive involved with their self-driving car project,” Pierre Yvez-Droz, an engineer at Waymo, wrote in a sworn testimony. “We were having dinner at a restaurant near the office, and he told me that it would be nice to create a new self-driving car startup and that Uber would be interested in buying the team responsible for the LiDAR we were developing at Google.”
Map accuracy is crucial for Uber’s self-driving car dreams. Though Brian wasn’t the only one working on the maps, it is believed that at least six people who were a part of Uber’s mapping team left to join Argo.ai started by Peter Rander, a former self-driving engineer.