Jarrett becomes Lyft’s first independent board member as the company continues to take advantage of much-larger rival Uber’s recent stumbles.
In a move to diversify its board, Lyft on Monday added its first independent director: Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to President Barack Obama.
The addition adds an outside perspective to the board tasked with overseeing the rapidly growing ride-hailing company as it takes advantage of competitor Uber’s recent stumbles. Lyft has completed more rides so far this year than in all of 2016 and expanded into more than 360 communities, meaning 80 percent of the United States now can use the service, according to the company. Meanwhile, Uber is hunting for a new CEO to replace founder Travis Kalanick, who was forced out after a series of scandals within the company.
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“I am a frequent Lyft passenger and have been inspired by the strong community John and Logan have created that is dedicated to enlightened corporate values, ” Jarrett wrote, referring to Lyft’s founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, in a statement posted on the company’s blog. “We share a belief that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility, and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities. I am thrilled to join the ride.”
Jarrett becomes Lyft’s ninth board member, but she’s the only one who isn’ t a company executive or investor.
She joins Green and Zimmer, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz, GM President Dan Ammann, Jonathan Christodoro of Icahn Capital, investor and former Trulia CFO Sean Aggarwal, Hiroshi Mikitani of Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, and Floodgate Fund’s Ann Miura-Ko.
Lyft says Jarrett’s arrival comes after the company spent months seeking to add new skill sets, experience and perspective to the board.
Uber last month added a new independent board member of its own, Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello. The move followed an investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, examining claims of sexual harassment and other issues at the workplace. Holder’s team recommended Uber bring on more independent board members, add an independent board chair and form an oversight committee.