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Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt says he is no longer vying to be Uber CEO

He just tweeted.

Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt onstage at the AllThingsD conference 2013
GE’s former head Jeff Immelt walks
Asa Mathat

Former GE head Jeff Immelt has pulled out of the race to become Uber CEO and just tweeted his withdrawal from the process. Immelt, who is currently in Northern California, presented his vision for the car-hailing giant in a bid to lead it on Friday.

No longer.

A source familiar with the situation said that Immelt had become increasingly disturbed by the dysfunction and infighting on the board, as well as its inexperience in conducting such an important search. In addition, given his longtime corporate experience, he also felt the directors did not have a “company first mindset.”

He apparently made his decision over the weekend after his presentation in person to the board, which did not go well on either side, said sources. Some on the Uber board side characterized Immelt’s departure as face-saving.

Perhaps, but Immelt, who had been the front-runner for the job, was irritated by more confusion around the search this late in the game. He had been competing for the job with another unnamed candidate (who I am beginning to believe does not exist), as well as the recent re-entry of Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman to the process.

The board vote for the CEO is expected to take place today.

Immelt had been the choice of ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, whom he thanked in his tweet along with Uber co-founder Garrett Camp and early company exec Ryan Graves. Immelt had spent a lot of time with the pugnacious Uber founder and was supportive of keeping him very involved in the company.

Most of all, sources said that Immelt was put off by recent legal attacks by major Uber investor Benchmark on Kalanick and felt the famous Silicon Valley venture firm had become a “destructive” influence on the process.

“It’s all about greed,” said one source.

Immelt had also been left twisting in the wind by the board he seems to have zero respect for now, after some directors have tried to reengage Whitman. She said publicly and definitively that she did not want the job two weeks ago in her own tweet and in an interview, although she had been very interested in the job initially.

But a large group on the board — including Benchmark’s Matt Cohler and Graves — now appear to be favoring Whitman and are trying to cobble together an offer to get her back, which might have caused Immelt to depart the competition before he was not chosen.

Whitman remains formally out of the race, but has been communicating with some directors about the terms she would agree to in order to return to the process. Among them, a rejiggered board, less active involvement by Kalanick and wide purview over management and business changes.

In other words, while some sources close to the board say the Uber CEO search remains a two-way race now, Whitman pretty much has the directors over a barrel.

Here is Immelt’s tweet. More to come.

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