You are here: Home » Companies » News » Automobile
Business Standard

Three Uber security managers resign after CEO criticises practices

Leadership in the unit has been in turmoil since the termination last week of Sullivan and a deputy

Joseph Menn & Dustin Volz | Reuters  |  San Francisco / Washington 

Uber
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo: Reuters

Three senior managers in Technologies’s unit resigned on Friday, an spokesperson said, days after the company’s new chief executive officer disclosed a massive data breach and criticised past practices.
 
Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who was installed in the top job in August, disclosed the data breach last month shortly after learning of it himself, saying that “none of this should have happened.” Uber’s practices are also under scrutiny in a high-stakes legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo, an Alphabet subsidiary.
 
last week said it fired its chief officer, Joe Sullivan, over his role in the 2016 data breach, which compromised data belonging to 57 million customers and about 600,000 drivers. The resignations Friday came amid mounting frustration within Uber’s team over Sullivan’s dismissal and the company’s handling of the public disclosure of the breach.
 
The three managers who resigned were Pooja Ashok, chief of staff for Sullivan; Prithvi Rai, a senior engineer and the number two manager in the department; and Jeff Jones, who handled physical security, the spokesperson said. Ashok and Jones will remain at the company until January to assist in transition, the spokesperson said.
 
A fourth individual, Uber’s head of Global Threat Operations, Mat Henley, began a three-month medical leave, said a separate source familiar with the situation. The departures include most of Sullivan’s direct reports.
 
None of the four immediately responded to requests for comment. Emails in connection with the departures, described by the separate source, complained of emotional and physical strain from the past year.
 
Sullivan in August told Reuters that his team totalled around 500 employees.
 
Leadership in the unit has been in turmoil since the termination last week of Sullivan and a deputy, as well as Uber’s admission that it paid $100,000 to hackers to delete stolen data from the October 2016 breach and keep it secret, while failing to report the incident to regulators or warn customers that their phone numbers and other data had been exposed.
 
In the Waymo case, testimony at a pretrial hearing this week focused on claims by former employee Richard Jacobs that had a special unit within its team that tried to obtain programming code and other trade secrets from rivals.
 
launched an investigation in response to Jacobs’ claims, which were outlined in a 37-page letter sent to Uber’s in-house attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice. Board members received a report before Thanksgiving on
 
the findings of that investigation, run by law firm WilmerHale. The report has not been shared publicly.
 
Henley, who was among the managers named in Jacobs’ letter, said in court Wednesday that the unit at that Jacobs had accused of acquiring rivals’ trade secrets no longer exists.
 
In addition to having a technical team dedicated to obtaining data from competitors, also had a “human intelligence” team to spy on people and record their conversations without them knowing, according to testimony in the Waymo case.
 
In one instance, a vendor hired by recorded a conversation between executives of rival ride-hailing firms Didi and Grab, Nicholas Gicinto, a manager at Uber, testified in court Wednesday.
 
Uber’s general counsel, Tony West, on Wednesday sent a note to employees, which was seen by Reuters, saying that human surveillance of individuals would no longer be tolerated.
 
West said he did not believe the activity was illegal, “but, to be crystal clear, to the extent anyone is working on any kind of competitive intelligence project that involves the surveillance of individuals, stop it now.”

First Published: Sun, December 03 2017. 00:43 IST