Uber CTO steps down amid rumors of mass layoffs

Pham steps down as CTO while company considers laying off up to 20% of its workforce

Uber CTO Thuan Pham is stepping down after seven years as an executive at the company. Rumor is, Uber may also be considering cutting as much as 20% of its workforce, according to The Information, which reported on Pham’s departure earlier on Tuesday. 

Based on Uber’s regulatory filing, Pham will step down from his role effective May 16, 2020. Pham joined Uber in 2013 and is among the most senior executives at the company. This departure comes at a crucial time for Uber, as stay-at-home orders have had a severe impact on its rideshare services. According to Pham, now is simply the best time for him to step away from the company.

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Pham shared in the filing, “While the work is never done, I feel comfortable hanging up my hat at a time when the Uber Engineering team is at peak productivity, we have built robust system scale and stability, and are well prepared to face the future. This has been a labor of love for me, and I am so proud of what we have done as a team.”

Should Uber pursue job cuts, Pham’s 3,800-person Uber engineering team could be cut by nearly 800 people based on The Information’s report. In total, Uber’s layoffs could result in upward of 5,400 of the company’s 27,000 employees losing their jobs. 

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This wouldn’t be the first time Uber has faced layoffs. Uber underwent a wave of layoffs last year, which including cutting more than 1,000 positions. Before the pandemic, the company claimed it would turn a quarterly profit by the end of 2020, but Uber withdrew its 2020 financial forecast for 2020 and claimed it would write down about $2 billion in investments impacted by the coronavirus. 

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Uber is expected to report its Q1 2020 earnings on May 7.

While Uber hasn’t finalized staff reductions, an Uber spokesperson shared with Reuters that, “The company is looking at every possible scenario to ensure we get to the other side of this crisis in a stronger position than ever.”

There seem to be quite a few things up in the air at Uber. From Pham announcing his departure without a successor to potential mass layoffs, it’ll be interesting to see what the next few weeks have in store for Uber. 

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