Ubers posts $708m loss, head of finance departs

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Uber’s head of finance has been shown the exit the door, after the ride-hailing company reported continued big losses in the first quarter of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the company, Gautam Gupta will leave the company in July to join an unspecified San Francisco-based startup as COO.

Uber reported a Q1 revenue of $3.4bn (£2.6bn), an 18 per cent increase from last quarter. Despite this, it lost $708m, excluding stock compensation expenses, in the first three months of 2017. In the three months prior, the company made a loss of $991m so losses are narrowing quarter-on-quarter, however, the company did not report figures for the first quarter of 2016.

The company also revealed that it has $7.2bn in cash on hand and that its gross bookings are up nine per cent.

Uber has confirmed that it is launching a search for a CFO with public company experience, after never officially ever giving Gupta that title – which likely suggests its move to go public is coming sooner rather than later.

The search for a new financial executive, accompanied with other recent movements in high-level positions and the reporting of selective financials, seem to all be pointing in one direction, and one direction only.

However, over the past year, there’s been allegations of sexual harassment, questions surrounding its seemingly unstable CEO Travis Kalanick, and ongoing, as well as potential, legal cases coming from various directions.

The company, earlier this week, fired its self-driving engineer Anthony Levandowski in another high-profile departure. Levandowski was the man at the centre of its current legal case with Waymo surrounding the theft of self-driving technologies.

Then there’s the investigation by the US Department of Justice into Uber’s illegal use of authority evasion software in areas where its service had not been approved, and the potential legal case surrounding it using a software to keep an eye on US rival Lyft.

Taking everything into account, the San Francisco-based transportation network is working hard to make itself appealing but, with a long list of controversies over the past year, can it really ever achieve that.