Brian McClendon, the vice president of maps at Uber, is leaving the company after close to two years, the company has confirmed. McClendon joined the ride-hail company after more than 10 years of working at Google’s mapping department.
“Mr. McClendon is departing amicably from Uber and will be an adviser to the company,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement, noting he was “moving back to Kansas where he is from to explore politics. His exit has been in the works for some time and his last day at Uber is March 28.”
McClendon’s is the latest in a series of departures from the company, which has been shaken by recent accusations of sexual harassment and sexism, leading CEO Travis Kalanick to admit he needs to “grow up” and commit to hiring a chief operating officer.
Yesterday, Recode reported Uber’s president Jeff Jones was leaving after just six months. Before that, the company’s head of AI Gary Marcus also announced he was leaving after a few months, days after the company’s vice president of product Ed Baker resigned.
Earlier, Kalanick asked for the resignation of his newly minted SVP of engineering Amit Singhal for not disclosing accusations of sexual assault at his previous employer, Google. The list goes on: The company’s former director of the self-driving group Raffi Krikorian stepped down a few months after the entity saw the departure of three other top self-driving engineers, as Recode first reported.
But the timing of McClendon’s departure is a bit different. For one, the company’s employees expected to receive their bonuses on March 15 after employee reviews. Sources say it’s likely we’ll see more departures now that staffers have cashed out their additional pay.
McClendon was also recently named in a major lawsuit levied against Uber by his former employer, Alphabet. The suit is centered around Uber’s head of self-driving, Anthony Levandowski, who joined the company as part of the acquisition of his self-driving startup Otto, and alleges Levandowski stole the design of a key aspect of the self-driving system before leaving Google.
According to the suit, Levandowski met with McClendon in the summer of 2015 — well before Levandowski left Alphabet.
“Mr. Levandowski had previously told me, in or around the summer of 2015, that he had talked with Brian McClendon, an Uber executive involved with their self-driving car project,” Pierre Yvez-Droz, an engineer at Waymo, wrote in a sworn testimony. “We were having dinner at a restaurant near the office, and he told me that it would be nice to create a new self-driving car startup and that Uber would be interested in buying the team responsible for the LiDAR we were developing at Google.”
Uber’s self-driving effort needs to show progress on how smoothly — and safely — it drives. That all requires incredibly thorough and accurate 3-D maps. While McClendon wasn’t the only one working on the company’s maps, at least six people who were on the company’s mapping team have also left the company to join Argo.ai — a startup founded by former self-driving engineer Peter Rander.
Source Article from http://www.recode.net/2017/3/20/14982926/uber-mapping-brian-mcclendon-steps-down