Key Uber executive steps down as company reportedly considers layoffs

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Uber chief technology officer Thuan Pham is stepping down after seven years as an executive at the company. Uber has been hit hard by the coronavirus’s impact on the travel industry, as global transportation has ground to a virtual standstill.

The company may also be mulling job cuts of as much as 20%, according to tech news site the Information, which also reported on Pham’s departure earlier on Tuesday. Uber had about 27,000 employees at the end of last year.

An Uber spokesman declined to comment on the possible job cuts. “As you would expect, 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,” he said.

Members of Uber’s engineering team will be performing Pham’s duties until the company finds a permanent CTO, the spokesman said. A search effort is currently underway.

Pham, born in Vietnam, left the country as a refugee in 1979 and immigrated to the U.S. He earned a masters in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked at a variety of tech companies, including as an executive at software maker VMware Inc., before joining Uber as its CTO in 2013.

Pham notified the company on April 24 he was resigning effective May 16, according to filings. In a statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he was “grateful” for Pham’s tenure. “As the leader of our engineering organization for the last seven years, Thuan has made important contributions that have helped make Uber into the global technology platform it is today,” Khosrowshahi said.

In the statement, Pham said that Uber’s engineering team was functioning at “peak productivity,” and added, “We have built robust system scale and stability, and are well prepared to face the future.”

Uber, which is unprofitable, cut more than 1,100 jobs last year. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the company had said it would turn a quarterly profit by the end of this year. Earlier this month the company withdrew its financial forecast for 2020 and said it would write down about $2 billion in investments impaired by Covid-19. Uber is slated to report earnings for the first quarter of 2020 on May 7.

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