Lyft co-founders to quit; David Risher is appointed CEO

Lyft’s co-founders said on Monday they would step back from their day-to-day responsibilities at the company, which has seen layoffs and disappointing financial results even as Uber, its biggest rival, has gone from strength to strength. .

The founders — Logan Green, chief executive of Lyft, and John Zimmer, its chairman — will remain on the company’s board, they said.

After launching Lyft in 2012, Mr. Green and Mr. Zimmer, now both 39, were high-profile figures in its early days. They pitched Lyft as a friendly alternative to Uber and its aggressive chief executive, Travis Kalanick, and avoided many of the controversies that surrounded their competitor.

But Lyft, like many other gig companies, hasn’t been able to turn a profit despite years of rapid growth, and in recent years it has fallen further behind Uber in the ride-sharing business while not diversifying into other activities, such as food delivery. .

David Risher, chief executive of a nonprofit called Worldreader and a member of Lyft’s board of directors, will replace Mr. Green as chief executive. Mr. Green’s last day will be April 17 and he will become chairman of the board. Mr. Zimmer will leave his current position at the end of June and become vice president, the company said.

“As I pass the baton to David, I want to share this: We continue to have an incredible opportunity to push the boundaries of how transportation can help connect people and build a better future,” said Mr. Green in a blog post.

Lyft’s business has been slow to rebound from lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic as driver supply issues led to high prices and long waits for passengers. Lyft’s stock price has fallen below $10, from around $40 a year ago and nearly $80 at its peak.

News of the resignations, which was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, sent the company’s stock price higher in after-hours trading.

At the start of the pandemic, Lyft and Uber were almost on equal footing: the vast majority of their businesses had to close and they laid off many of their employees.

But Uber, which has a global presence that Lyft lacks, rebounded faster, in part because its global availability and food delivery business kept drivers on its platform and mitigated the impact of the pandemic. said analysts and former employees.

Uber also invested more in financial incentives to persuade drivers to return to the platform after the pandemic waned, while Lyft initially did not have enough drivers to meet growing driver demand.

In November, Lyft laid off 13% of its employees. Then, in February, it spooked investors when its financial projections for the year fell short of their expectations, sending its stock price plummeting. Lyft said at the time that it needed to lower its prices to be more competitive.

Lyft reported record revenue of $1.2 billion in its latest quarter, along with losses of $588 million.

Tom White, senior research analyst at financial firm DA Davidson, said he saw the change in leadership as “modest upside potential”.

A new executive, he said in an email, “could signal an increased willingness to broaden Lyft’s strategic opening a bit in terms of other possible adjacent products (delivery?), partners or ways to create value”.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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