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Uber’s no good, very bad year: A timeline

It’s been a tough year for Uber. We’ve put together a timeline of key events to keep track of what’s going on at the ridehailing giant.

2017 was a tough year for Uber. The ridehailing giant was worth a reported $68 billion as of August 2016—but in late 2016, problems began piling on.

We've put together a timeline of key events to keep track of what's going on at Uber. The timeline below was updated through the end of 2017. 

Dec 14
  Travis Kalanick
CEO Travis Kalanick joins Trump's strategic and policy forum. (He later resigned).
Jan 28
The #DeleteUber hashtag, which emerged after the company allegedly tried to profit from immigration ban protests, goes viral.
Feb 19   Susan FowlerFormer engineer Susan Fowler publishes a blog post alleging rampant sexual harassment.
20   Prompted by Fowler's blog post, Uber hires former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his colleague to lead an independent review of the company's work environment and diversity. (Results expected week of May 30.)
23   Google's Waymo issues a lawsuit alleging theft of self-driving car technology.

Senior director of engineering Raffi Krikorian steps down.
26   Reports surface of errors in Uber's self-driving mapping tech.
 27   Amit Singhal, SVP of engineering, resigns over sexual harassment allegations at his former workplace, Google.
 28   Kalanick Uber Driver Argument VideoVideo surfaces of Kalanick in a heated argument with an Uber driver.
Mar 3   Reports emerge of secret Greyball tool, which Uber reportedly uses to circumvent law enforcement.

Senior engineer Charlie Miller leaves to join rival ridehailing company Didi Chuxing.

VP of product and growth Ed Baker steps down.
8   Gary Marcus, director of AI Labs, resigns.
19   jeff jonesPresident Jeff Jones leaves, says he disagrees with Uber's beliefs.
20   Brian McClendon, VP of maps and business platform and a named party in Waymo's lawsuit, resigns.
Apr 11   Head of communications and policy Rachel Whetsone leaves because she's reportedly tired of the drama.
13   Reports surface that Uber used secret software to spy on Lyft drivers.
17   VP of global vehicle programs Sherif Marakby leaves.
27   Anthony Levandowski, the exec at the center of the Waymo lawsuit, steps down from his position as head of the self-driving car unit. He stays on in lesser role.
May 4   US Dept. of Justice opens criminal investigation into the company's use of the Greyball tool.
11   Judge denies Uber's request to arbitrate Waymo lawsuit; refers case to US Attorney's office for possible criminal investigation re: alleged theft of trade secrets.
19   Reports emerge that Uber is threatening to fire Levandowski unless he hands over confidential files at center of Waymo lawsuit.
21   The company begins looking for a new general counsel.
25   Josh Mohrer, general manager for Uber New York, steps down.
30   Uber fires Levandowski for his failure to hand over files.
31   Gautam Gupta, Uber's head of finance, leaves the company.
June 5   The company hires Frances Frei as its first SVP of leadership and strategy, saying "we know we all have a lot to learn from her."
6   The company hires former Apple exec Bozoma Saint John as its chief brand officer, presumably to help clean up the company's image. 

Uber fires more than 20 employees as part of an ongoing sexual harassment and workplace culture investigation.
7   Judge denies Uber's request to keep private an internal report re: self-driving technology—the report could be a pivotal piece of evidence in the ongoing Waymo lawsuit.

Eric Alexander, president of Uber's Asia Pacific business, is fired. Reports say the termination was due to his mishandling of the medical records of a woman who had been raped during a ride in India.
8   Reports emerge that Uber is in advanced talks to acquire engineers and tech from Luxe, an on-demand valet startup that shut down its app earlier in the year.

The company appoints Brian Zajac as the new head of hardware engineering for its self-driving car unit.
11   Uber's board unanimously votes to adopt all recommendations put forth by the investigation into its company culture led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. The company is said to be considering a leave of absence for Kalanick.
12   Emil Michael, SVP of business and Kalanick's second-in-command, leaves the company.
13   Uber releases recommendations from the investigation into the company's culture. HR chief Liane Hornsey says in a statement: "Implementing these recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated."

Kalanick officially begins a leave of absence.

David Bonderman steps down from Uber's board after making a sexist comment during an all-company meeting.
Reports emerge of who is running the company in Kalanick's absence. Fourteen executives are in charge, including the first Uber CEO Ryan Graves and CTO Thuan Pham (pictured).

A week after Eric Alexander was fired from his position as head of Uber's Asia Pacific business due to his mishandling of the medical records of a woman who was raped during an Uber ride, the victim files a lawsuit against the company for defamation and violation of privacy.
20   Amid intense pressure from investors, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns.

Uber introduces its "180 Days of Change" initiative, which it says is meant to help change the experience for its drivers. "We know there's a long road ahead, but we won't stop until we get there," the company said in an announcement.;
21   Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley leaves Uber's board of directors. Gurley was reportedly one of the people who pushed for a leadership change amid the sexual harassment allegations.
22   Reports emerge that TPG partner David Trujillo will replace David Bonderman on Uber's board.
30   In the latest installment of the Waymo lawsuit, Uber lays out its defense. The company plans to support its assertion that its leaders didn't know Anthony Levandowski had stolen confidential files before he left Waymo.
July 10   Waymo drops three of its four patent claims against Uber, though it will continue to pursue its trade secret claims, which make up the bulk of the case.
17   News surfaces that early investor Benchmark may sell its Uber shares to SoftBank. The transaction would reportedly value Uber at between $40 billion and $45 billion, a major drop from the estimated $68 billion valuation it reached last year.
Aug 9   Reports emerge that the company is planning to shut down its subprime car-leasing unit in a move that could result in layoffs for about 3% of its 15,000 employees.
10   Benchmark—which holds about 13% of Uber's stock—files a lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick (Uber is also a named party) for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. The lawsuit alleges that Kalanick conspired to gain control of Uber's board under false pretenses and that Benchmark signed off on adding additional board seats due to Kalanick's "material misstatements and fraudulent concealment."
11   Other Uber investors call for Benchmark to give up its board seat and its right to appoint board members.
14   Travis Kalanick responds to the Benchmark lawsuit, arguing that it should go to arbitration, a move that would allow the case to play out in a more private manner.

Kalanick issues a statement about the lawsuit, saying he's "disappointed and baffled by Benchmark's hostile actions, which clearly are not in the best interests of Uber and its employees on whose behalf they claim to be acting."
17   Kalanick files a motion to dismiss the Benchmark lawsuit, accusing the investor of executing a plan to oust him "at the most shameful of times," just after his mother's death.
27   Uber selects Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO.
Sept 27   London's transportation arm rejects Uber's application to renew its license after concluding the company is "not fit and proper" to operate in the city. (Uber launched an appeal a few weeks later.)
29   Kalanick appoints two new members to the company's board of directors, something Uber called "a complete surprise."
Oct 3   Uber's board votes unanimously to implement several new governance reforms, including some that will limit Kalanick's power, and move forward with a direct investment from SoftBank.
30   The company hires Tony West as its new chief legal officer.
Nov 21   Khosrowshahi confirms that hackers stole data from 57 million riders and drivers around the world in late 2016—and that the company kept it quiet.
27   The City of Chicago sues Uber for failing to disclose the data breach.

US Sen. Mark Warner issues a set of questions to Khosrowshahi regarding the cyberattack.
28   In an echo of Chicago's actions the day before, the state of Washington sues the company for failure to disclose the data breach.

SoftBank launches tender offer in a bid to buy shares from existing investors at a valuation of roughly $48 billion.
Dec 20   The European Union's top court rules that Uber is not a digital service but a transport company and, as such, it should be regulated like other taxi operators.

The company announces the addition of Barney Harford as its first-ever COO.
Dec 28   SoftBank completes its tender offer, buying a 15% stake in Uber at a valuation of $48 billion.

Here’s more of our Uber coverage.

  • dana-headshot.jpg
    Written by Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen was a senior writer at PitchBook, covering all things venture capital. She has a BA from UC Santa Barbara and a JD from Loyola Law School.

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