Rachel Whetstone, who left Google two years ago to replace David Plouffe as policy and communications vice-president at Uber, will be leaving the company this week amid a numerous “scandals and controversies, including allegations of sexual harassment… a legal battle with Google over the alleged theft of driverless car technology… and allegations that the company had another program called ‘Hell’ designed to spy on its arch-rival Lyft,” reports the Guardian.
“It’s an open secret that Travis doesn’t listen to anyone,” a senior communications advisor in the Bay Area familiar with the matter told the Guardian. “The speculation is that it’s so male heavy and toxic at management levels that even someone like [Whetstone] … is exhausted by the machismo.”
The biggest threat to the company’s existence may come in a few weeks, when Uber tries to outmaneuver Google in court. Google’s self-driving offshoot, Waymo, is calling for an injunction against Uber’s self-driving program, says the Guardian, alleging that Uber’s current director of self-driving vehicles, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 secret documents from Google about Lidar technology and brought them with him to Uber.
Whetstone insisted that, despite her departure, she still loved the concept and the company but many see her fleeing a company with a reputation that no public relations professional can fix.