Finance Chief at Uber Departs Continuing Difficult Year for Company

Just one day after ride-hailing startup Uber fired its former head of its research & development effort for autonomous vehicles, the company announced that Gautum Gupta the head of finance was departing the company to become the COO at a startup in the San Francisco area.

Uber said that Gupta’s timing of his departure was not related to the company’s loss of $708 million during the first quarter of 2017.

The company, based in San Francisco said on Wednesday that its revenue during the first quarter increased by 18% to over $3.4 billion and its loss for the quarter had narrowed to just over $708 million from the previous quarterly loss of $991 million.

Despite its loss, Uber announced that it was pleased with the continual growth in revenue and by a rise of 9% in its gross bookings as its global operations grow.

It even called its business in its developed international markets contribution positive for the recently ended quarter.

Gupta, who was the VP of finance for Uber, leaves the company following four years of strong expansion and growth.

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick called Gupta a world class financial talent and said that over the past four years Gupta was indispensable in building Uber from just an idea into the business it is now and that could not have been done without him. Kalanick added that Gupta’s focus, energy and enthusiasm will be missed.

Regardless of the reason Gupta is leaving, it comes during a tumultuous point for Uber that is going through a high-stakes and high profile legal battle with Google parent Alphabet over the trade secrets for the self-driving vehicle of Google, the Jeff Jones resignation as president and a U.S. government criminal investigations into the use by the company of a software tool to help its drivers avoid being detected in areas of the U.S. where its service was not allowed to be operating.

The company is searching for a COO so it can strengthen the executive team that has come under fire for a period after there were claims of a corporate culture and work environment marked by be hostility to women.

Kalanick pledged the company would be put onto a new path but the change of its corporate culture will not happen overnight.

A search for a replacement for Gupta has begun, with the team focusing on someone with CFO experience in a public company.