While Uber works to find a new CEO, rival Lyft is adding a new board member: Valerie Jarrett, a former Senior Advisor to President Obama and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
The job: Jarrett is Lyft's first independent board member. The ride-hailing company says it's been looking to hire one for the past several months, and Jarrett is best suited thanks to her experience in both the private and public sectors, including as commissioner of Chicago's planning department and chairing the city's transit board. Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green shares this type of experience with Jarrett; in college, he served on his local transportation board.
It's not clear how Jarrett has come to join Lyft's board (representatives for both Lyft and Jarrett provided statements only about having shared values), but we do know that she is a self-proclaimed frequent Lyft passenger.
Last summer, at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, Jarrett interviewed then Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on stage. The two discussed the on-demand economy's impact on labor and found a common interest in criminal justice reform (though
Kalanick made some inaccurate statements
about arrest records and hiring). It's unclear, however, whether Jarrett's joining of Lyft's board means her opinion of Uber has changed over the past year, which has been rough for the company.