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Barney Harford to join Uber as COO

Uber announced that Barney Harford would be joining Uber as Cheif Operating Officer starting January 2, 2018. Harford was working as an advisor with the company since October this year. Harford will be in charge of Uber’s global operations, marketing and customer support team for company’s ridesharing and delivery sections.

Previously, Harford was the CEO of Orbitz, a travel fare aggregator. He is also the chairman of United Airlines and RealSelf and will continue serving the board after he joins Uber in January. Harford and current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, worked together at Expedia, in 1999.

Starting 2017, Uber was hit by a series of scandals that lead to a void in the top management with several positions empty.  In October, the Washington Post had reported ‘six vacant positions.  As of March, the vacant positions included CFO, general counsel, chief marketing officer, senior vice president of engineering and chief diversity officer.

However, the vacant positions are being taken over slowly. In October, CO Khosrowshahi appointed former Pepsi executive Tony West as Uber’s chief legal officer. The company still doesn’t have a person to take up the CFO role.

Earlier this year, former CEO and Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick had resigned after a series of controversies. As a result of continued bad incidents, the investors at Uber demanded that Kalanick resigns. He resigned in June 2017.

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A blogpost by former Uber Employee Susan Fowler had revealed her experience at Uber, where she experienced sexual harassment. In her post, she mentioned, that the HR of the company was complex and refused to act on the issue. The blog by Fowler was the beginning of a movement as it had immediately gone viral.  Following that, Uber had created a board for investigation and fired nearly 20 employees.

Uber is also dealing with a case of corporate espionage where it stole trade secrets from its rivals, including Google’s self-driving car division Waymo using secret messaging systems.

In 2014, an Indian woman was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi and had filed a lawsuit against the company which she withdrew later. In June 2017, she filed a separate case against Kalanick for illegally obtaining her medical reports and creating false stories about the incident. However, the two parties had later agreed to settle the civil US lawsuit.

The poisonous work culture at Uber came to light when the company concealed a hack that affected 57 million customers and drivers. Former CEO Kalanick was aware of the breach and had decided to hide it.

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