Uber's chief product officer is stepping down

Megan Rose Dickey
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Uber Chief Product Officer Manik Gupta speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019 at Moscone Convention Center on October 04, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Uber Chief Product Officer Manik Gupta announced today he is leaving the company. Gupta's last day will be December 13, he wrote in a note to Uber's product team today.

"After a few discussions with Dara as well as with my family—and now that we’ve made it through the IPO and an important year for the company—I’ve made the tough decision to leave Uber," Gupta wrote in the note.

In a conversation with TechCrunch, Gupta elaborated that he felt like now was a good time for him to take a break, noting that he's "leaving the team in very capable hands." Additionally, he said he's "very bullish on Uber's future."

As for what's next for Gupta, his plan is to recharge and spend time with his family before jumping into the next thing. During this time, Gupta plans to look at some of the emerging trends in the consumer internet space, which has changed a lot over the last four years, he told TechCrunch. Take TikTok, he said, which didn't exist four years ago. Meanwhile, there is increased scrutiny surrounding all of these consumer platforms.

"I really want to look at some of these trends," he said.

Gupta joined Uber from Google in 2015 as a senior director of the maps and marketplace product team. In November 2018, Gupta was promoted to chief product officer. Uber does not have another chief product officer lined up, so the plan is for Gupta to stay on for a bit during this transition and help the company find his replacement. Matt Cohler, general partner at Benchmark, will also help Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in his search for a chief product officer, according to Uber. In the meantime, all of Gupta's reports will report directly to Khosrowshahi. In Gupta's note, he said it will be a good opportunity for Khosrowshahi to get more involved with the product team.

"Over the past four years, Manik has elevated our product strategy and has been the driving force behind some of our most ambitious launches, including Uber Rewards and Uber Pro, Uber Wallet, and our movement towards a ‘super app,’ " an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. "We’re grateful for his leadership and wish him the very best.”

This year, Uber has laid off more than 1,000 employees across its marketing, engineering, product, Eats, self-driving and other organizations throughout the company. Gupta was one of the leaders tasked with evaluating his team, identifying duplicate and overlapping roles, as well as individual performance to determine who would be laid off. That process resulted in 170 layoffs from the product team in September.

"Obviously, that was a tough decision we made but it was the right decision," Gupta said. "We had to take our execution to the next level and look at how we set ourselves up for the future."

Meanwhile, Uber has unveiled a number of new features and tools over the past few months, including a financial services platform, ads within Eats and rewards programs. Uber Pro, Uber Rewards and Uber Money are three products Gupta pointed to when discussing how Uber has better positioned itself to become the operating system for everyday life. This is a vision Gupta said he's "very excited about."

Moving forward, Gupta hopes the company will keep moving faster and "take on more and more bold bets," he said.

Gupta's departure comes shortly after Uber reported losses of more than $1 billion in its latest earnings report. Uber's stock is currently trading at $26.78.

Here's the entirety of Gupta's note:

Team,

The end of November marks 4 years for me at Uber, and as we’ve been planning our strategy for next year, I’ve been doing my own personal 2020 planning. After a few discussions with Dara as well as with my family—and now that we’ve made it through the IPO and an important year for the company—I’ve made the tough decision to leave Uber.

I joined Uber to work on the fascinating problem of building a real-world, real-time marketplace, at global scale. I have had the privilege of being part of an amazing journey as we got to incredible scale across several businesses. I am truly proud of everything we have accomplished as a team. We have a strong product roadmap ahead of us and I continue to be bullish about Uber’s future.

I am grateful for this team, who is hard at work building an amazing product experience for our users. This is a great opportunity for Dara to get even more involved in Product and, until he finds my replacement, my leads will report directly to him. Later this afternoon, Dara and I will host a Q&A with all of you to talk about the transition and the plan for the interim.

As for what’s next for me, you only get a few moments in your life to take a break, and with the holidays coming up and before my son starts middle school mid-next year, I plan to spend some quality time with family and recharge before my next adventure.

I want to thank Dara for the opportunity to lead the Product team and drive the product vision at one of the most transformational companies of all time. Thanks to all of you as well for your partnership and for teaching me so much—I will always be cheering for you. I’m around until December 13th and hope to catch up with as many of you as possible. Thank you.

Manik