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Uber pares back digital wallet ambitions, head of unit quits

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Uber Technologies' financial services leader Peter Hazlehurst is calling it quits as the ride-hailing giant focuses on rides and food delivery, and ices plans to become a financial services company.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Uber Technologies' financial services leader Peter Hazlehurst is calling it quits as the ride-hailing giant focuses on rides and food delivery, and ices plans to become a financial services company.

In an email to staff on Thursday, Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber will "deprioritise" several of its finance-related projects, which have included credit cards, a digital wallet and instant payments for drivers. Mr Khosrowshahi wrote in the email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg that in light of the change in direction at the company, "I understand Peter's decision to pursue something more aligned with his passion and initial ambitions."

Mr Hazlehurst announced his decision Thursday in an email to his Uber Money team, the financial group he's led since 2018. He described the ambitious plan he presented at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas late last year for the digital wallet and a host of other Uber financial products as "without a doubt, the highlight of my career."

In an interview, he added, "If we aren't going crazy big on these products than I should get out of the way." Mr Hazlehurst said the New York-based team Uber hired to build financial services is now working on projects for Uber Eats.

Mr Hazlehurst's departure marks the latest high-profile exit at the unprofitable company, now struggling to retrench amid cratering demand. Uber has seen rides drop roughly 70 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic, with no clear timeline for a return to normal.

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The company also embarked on a series of radical cuts last month, decreasing the size of its workforce by 25 per cent and offloading of cash-burning businesses, including some food delivery markets and its electric bike division.

In his email, Mr Khsorowshahi said Uber Money employees will now report to Peeyush Nahar, vice president of technology. Uber Eats boss Jason Droege, and Uber chief technology officer Thuan Pham have also resigned this year.

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