Graves' lack of prior experience reportedly came back to haunt Uber during a contentious time internally.
According to Recode, Uber's first official head of HR, Renee Atwood, was hired in 2014 and reported to Graves. Sources told Recode that Atwood asked to report directly to Kalanick, as she and other managers felt Graves was too green to handle complex HR matters appropriately. But after Atwood left the company, it was Graves who acted as the interim head of human resources, Recode's sources said.
Then there's the evasion of authorities in the "greyball" program — which Graves reportedly knew about — and may become one of two federal investigations that now faces Uber.
In February, after Fowler's bombshell blog post and subsequent media reports of widespread harassment at the company, Uber commissioned former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder to conduct a wide-ranging investigation. Graves was not implicated or ousted as a result of the investigation, and his catchphrase, "super pumpedness," was one of the few Uber values that wasn't called out in the report.
Kalanick stepped down from his role as CEO this summer, though he, too, remains on the board.
Graves, a surfer and serious photographer, wrote on his website in 2008 that the fallout from the economic crisis had inspired him to turn to surfing, and entrepreneurialism, as a way to take advantage of "turbulence."
"Instead of paddling around in circles as though we were in some calm lake, we need to learn to act like surfers to place ourselves in the rising and falling swells, paddling forward while glancing occasionally backwards, so that we will be ready when the big wave comes. If we do that, we will stand up at the right moment, establish our balance, take a deep breath, and ride the exhilarating force of history all the way to shore," Graves wrote, quoting a Harvard Business Publishing article.
For Graves, the next wave is now on the horizon.
Correction: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the nature of Austin Geidt's addiction.