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Alphabet’s David Drummond has left Uber's board over conflict of interest on self-driving cars

The move was confirmed after reports said Drummond had been “shut out” of Uber’s board meetings.

Burda DLD Nightcap 2010 Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for Hubert Burda Media

David Drummond, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, has stepped down from Uber’s board of directors, Recode has confirmed.

The move comes as Uber and Google increasingly compete for resources, talent and partnerships in the self-driving vehicle space. Drummond joined the ride-hail company’s board in August 2013 when Google Ventures led a $360 million round in Uber.

Just days ago, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced that Anthony Levandowski, one of the pioneers of Google’s self-driving car project and co-founder of self-driving trucking company Otto, would be leading all of Uber’s autonomous car efforts as part of the company’s acquisition of Otto.

Uber’s acquisition of Otto was paired with a $300 million joint commitment to develop autonomous cars with Volvo.

While Google may have pioneered the self-driving space years ago, the company’s autonomous car arm has struggled to secure substantial partnerships with major automakers, save for a small deal with Fiat Chrysler.

On the other hand, Uber’s partnership with Volvo is its second relationship with a major automaker. In May, Uber announced that it had secured a strategic investment from Toyota.

In other words, as Uber aggressively invests in self-driving technology, it is increasingly competing with Google. This sort of situation is nothing new for Google. Its former CEO Eric Schmidt famously had to step down from Apple's board after it became obvious that Google Android would become Apple's biggest competitor to the iPhone.

"I recently stepped down from Uber's board given the overlap between the two companies,” Drummond said in a statement provided by Uber. “Uber is a phenomenal company and it's been a privilege working with the team over the last two plus years. GV remains an enthusiastic investor and Google will continue to partner with Uber. I want to wish Travis all the best for the future."

The announcement followed a report from The Information that indicated Drummond, as well as Google Ventures CEO David Krane, had been shut out of Uber’s board meetings for the better part of the year.

"It's been a pleasure having David on the board,” Kalanick said in a statement. “He's been a sage adviser and a great personal friend. I wish David and Alphabet the best, and look forward to continued cooperation and partnership."

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