Uber's PR head resigns amid tumultuous time for company

Outgoing Uber comms head Rachel Whetstone

Outgoing Uber comms head Rachel Whetstone

"Just as when I left Google, a strong and brilliant woman will be taking my place".

Uber's head of communications has resigned, following months of controversies plaguing the ride-sharing app.

Uber confirmed her departure to Fortune, but didn't further detail the reasoning behind her decision to leave. "She is a force of nature, an extraordinary talent and an incredible player-coach who has built a first-class organisation".

This time the ride-hailing company is losing Rachel Whetstone, head of communications and policy. That's a twofer. She simultaneously highlighted that Uber is replacing her with a woman as the company faces accusations of a culture filled with sexual harassment and she shouted out her old employer Google, which is now involved in a lawsuit brought by the Department of Labor that asserts the search giant pays women far less than men.

CEO Travis Kalanick announced her departure Tuesday in an email to employees.

"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", she said.

Whetstone previously led communications at another top-rank company, Google, which is now in a firestorm with Uber involving allegations of intellectual property theft. Uber would not say if the move would be immediate. Hazelbaker also has ties to political work, having been a political operative of Senator John McCain on his presidential campaign.

Uber Technologies chief executive Travis Kalanick is struggling to hold onto his top lieutenants as the company faces an onslaught of scandals. Kalanick ordered an internal investigation in response, but faced additional backlash after he was caught berating an Uber driver on video. News of Whetstone's departure and Hazelbaker's promotion were first reported by Recode.

Last month, Uber's president, Jeff Jones quit the company less than a year after he joined from Target.

"An internal probe looking into ex-engineer Susan Fowler's accusations of discrimination against female employees will be made public when it concludes in late April". Accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination made by a former engineer prompted an internal investigation led by a former United States attorney general and the firm's hopes for a self-driving auto programme are under threat from a lawsuit claiming it stole technology from Google.

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