- The head of global recruiting at Travis Kalanick’s startup CloudKitchens resigned over the weekend.
- The company was investigating Lucas Partington after an allegation of workplace misconduct sources say related to an April work trip to Mexico City.
- Last month, Insider reported employees are leaving the company en masse, in part because of HR issues.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The executive in charge of recruiting at CloudKitchens, the food delivery startup led by Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, has resigned after an investigation related to a recent work trip, Insider has learned.
Lucas Partington, CloudKitchens’ Head of Global Recruiting, was placed on leave last week, sources with knowledge of the situation said. He then resigned this weekend. The company was looking into a late April work trip in Mexico City attended by Partington and local recruiters, according to several people who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
His leave, which had not been widely communicated internally, was a rare, and possibly the first, serious action taken by the company against an executive, according to several sources who spoke to Insider who were not aware of other instances.
A representative for CloudKitchens’ parent company City Storage Systems confirmed Partington’s departure in a statement to Insider.
“As is CSS policy, after receiving a complaint on May 3rd of workplace misconduct on April 30th, CSS started an immediate and thorough investigation while the employee was put on leave pending the results of the investigation. The individual in question resigned a week later on May 8th.”
Partington did not respond to requests for comment.
Partington joined CloudKitchens in December 2019 after four years at Uber. In addition to leading the ghost kitchen company’s global recruiting efforts, he served as interim chief people officer before the company hired Emma Jeffries for the role in July.
CloudKitchens, which rents shared kitchen facilities to restaurants so they can fill home delivery orders, has expanded to dozens of cities under Kalanick’s leadership during the past few years. The startup has raised hundreds of millions of dollars at a $5 billion valuation from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and is also being funded by Kalanick, who was pushed out as Uber CEO in 2017 amid widespread criticism of the ride-hailing company’s internal culture.
Insider reported in April that Kalanick has imported many of the Uber’s practices to CloudKitchens, including several of the corporate values that became controversial at Uber.
The investigation into Partington comes as CloudKitchens’ internal culture and HR practices have caused numerous employees to leave the startup. Over 300 of the company’s more than 2,000 employees left this year, some of whom told Insider they quit over what they perceived as paltry bonuses and a contentious new leveling system instituted in March by chief people officer Jeffries. More exits are expected as some employees tee up their next jobs.
Multiple sources who quit told Insider they were also frustrated with how HR addressed employee concerns. They said their complaints, ranging from maskless colleagues in the office at the height of the pandemic to what they saw as bullying and other issues with leadership, seemed to fall on deaf ears, with little followup and no consequences.
At Uber, Partington started in the Australia office and then moved to San Francisco, per his LinkedIn profile. At a Sydney tech careers event, he told the audience that he was initially rejected at Uber. He then surveyed drivers to see what they liked and disliked about the ridehailing platform and presented his findings to the CEO – Kalanick – which eventually led to his hiring.