May 15, 2020 - Technology

Airbnb and Lyft make key hires amid coronavirus pandemic

Lyft sign at an airport
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

As they hope to weather the coronavirus crisis despite severe dips in business, Airbnb and Lyft have both made new hires focused on safety and community.

Driving the news: Airbnb announced yesterday it has hired AppleCare chief Tara Bunch as its new head of global operations, while Lyft recently brought on Jennifer Brandenburger as its first director of community safety. 

  • Bunch will oversee Airbnb's customer service, trust and safety, and payments, and will report to CEO Brian Chesky. She is taking over some of the responsibilities of former chief operating officer Belinda Johnson, who left late last year. 
  • Brandenburger, who spent several years at Lyft before a brief recent stint at Airbnb, will report to chief policy officer (and ex-Transportation secretary) Anthony Foxx. She will lead the company's new Safety Advisory Council and initially focus on COVID-19-related safety issues. 

Between the lines: The coronavirus pandemic has raised the stakes when it comes to making customers feel safe and comfortable. Sharing economy companies, such as Airbnb and Lyft, will have to find ways to convince customers their services are safe, while not imposing such severe standards on hosts and drivers that they abandon work.

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