Rachel Whetstone leaves Uber because of “lack of appetite for... drama” (LOL)
Rachel Whetstone is leaving Uber. According to Re/Code the decision was hers (i.e. she wasn’t fired) and was partly because she had a “lack of appetite for even more drama”.
As regular Pando readers will know, the idea that Whetstone would leave Uber to avoid drama is so far beyond laughable that it has travelled the entire circumference of the globe and returned back to laughable again. Rachel Whetstone started out in Westminster -- where she and her husband Steve “I support Donald Trump” Hilton helped reinvent the UK’s “nasty” conservative party as the friendly, lovable, electable party that regained power and brought the world… Brexit.
Having left London, for a variety of dramatic reasons, she then headed to Google where she is most famous for picking a very public and highly dramatic fight with (her old pal) Rupert Murdoch. Finally she ended up at Uber where she immediately began bringing even more drama to the already dramatic company, starting with the infamous dinner at which Emil Michael pledged to spend a million dramatic dollars dramatically smearing Pando’s own Sarah Lacy.
Simply put, Rachel Whetstone hates drama like David Mamet hates drama, like Shakespeare hates drama, like Ru Paul performing Tom Stoppard at Devin Nunes High School For Thirteen-Year-Old Girls hates drama.
No, Rachel Whetstone didn’t leave Uber because she hates drama.
For Rachel Whetstone to leave Uber there can only be one reason: Uber is totally, irreversibly fucked. So irreversibly fucked that anyone left behind when the other shoe drops will be so irreparably damaged by association that THE PERSON WHO MADE THE TORIES ELECTABLE AGAIN doesn’t want the karma.
Moreover, no matter how fucked Uber was before Rachel Whetstone left -- the lawsuits, the institutional sexism, the brothels, the CIA ties, the threats against reporters, the doomed IPO -- they are now infinitely more fucked now that she’s gone. I’m not what you’d call a Whetstone superfan but I’m the first to admit she is perhaps the only communications professional on the planet -- and I include fictional fixers like Olivia Pope and Lanny Davis in this -- who might possibly have the connections, the skills and the total lack of scruples to pull Travis, Emil and Co back from the brink.
I’m sure we’ll find out more in the coming weeks and months. You don’t cross Rachel Whetstone and not expect your uppance to come. If I were a betting man, I’d say it came down to a “either he goes or I do” between Whetstone and Emil Michael -- and Travis, as is his pathetic, self-destructive wont, chose once again to put bros before Heads of Communications and Public Policy.
(As a speculative aside, that Information story about how Michael and Kalanick have become self-destructively inseparable felt like a decidedly Whetstoney move to position Emil as the cause of all the company’s woes -- and therefore the ideal fall guy -- while damning him with faint praise. On that, though, I really am just speculating.)
For now, into the breach steps poor Jill Hazelbaker, Whetstone’s deputy, a former campaign staffer to John McCain and press director for Michael Bloomberg.
Hazelbaker certainly has experience trying to save sexist tech bros from themselves -- she was previously at Snapchat -- but Uber’s current clusterfuck is a whole different ballgame. If Whetstone couldn’t make Travis see sense and sacrifice his bro Emil, Hazelbaker doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance.
The absolute smartest thing she could do -- that any sane, competent executive left at Uber could do -- is follow Whetstone out of the door and hope they can get far enough away from 555 Market when the meteor hits.