Lyft brings in new CEO, pushing co-founders from helm after stock’s plunge
Lyft Inc. is bringing in a new chief executive and removing its co-founders from running the ride-hailing company on a day-to-day basis, sending shares more than 4% higher in after-hours trading Monday.
announced after markets closed Monday that board member David Risher will take over as CEO, replacing co-founder Logan Green. Green and Lyft’s other active co-founder — John Zimmer, who had been serving as president — will remain on the company’s board as chair and vice chair respectively, but not actively participate in running the company.
“I’m honored and humbled that Logan, John, and the board have trusted me to lead Lyft,” Risher wrote in a letter to employees. “And I’ll start by saying this: I want Lyft to lead, and I’m thrilled to lead Lyft.”
Read more: New Lyft CEO tells MarketWatch: ‘I don’t think of this as just an Uber battle. It’s a battle against staying at home.’
Risher worked at Microsoft Corp.
in the 1990s before becoming employee No. 37 at Amazon.com Inc.
according to Lyft’s announcement, which noted that he received a permanent thank you on the Amazon website from founder and former chief executive Jeff Bezos upon his departure in 2002. For the past 13 years, he has been in charge of a nonprofit focused on childhood literacy called Worldreader.
“Across all three organizations, I learned of the power of leading with purpose,” he wrote to employees. “Each organization derived tremendous energy through a singleness of purpose. It’s what attracted and retained great people, allowed us to make focused decisions and inspired our customers.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Risher — who has been on Lyft’s board since 2021 — admitted that Lyft faces competitive issues, seemingly referencing Uber Technologies Inc.
He mentioned “a very aggressive — very aggressive — competitor,” while adding, “I think being a strong No. 2 is a good place to be.”
Lyft shares lost more than a third of their value in a single session in February after Green and Zimmer provided a forecast that missed expectations in what one analyst called “a debacle for the ages.” Monday’s announcement reiterated Lyft’s first-quarter guidance and said Lyft expects to report quarterly results in early May.
D.A. Davidson analyst Tom White told MarketWatch on Monday afternoon that the change at the top could be “a potential model positive.”
“A new leader with broader range of experiences could signal increased willingness to broaden Lyft’s strategic aperture a bit as it relates to other possible adjacent products (delivery?), partners, or ways to create value,” he wrote in an email.
Wedbush’s Dan Ives, the analyst who described Lyft’s last earnings call as a “debacle for the ages,” wrote in a note late Monday that “management essentially lost all Street credibility” with their guidance in February, leading to the change.
“Lyft has been a train wreck the last six months and management essentially lost all Street credibility after a massively disappointing 2023 guidance given on its 4Q conference call which ultimately catalyzed this CEO change,” the analyst wrote, while maintaining a neutral rating and $13 price target. “Mr. Risher has his work cut out ahead as we believe all options are now on the table for Lyft including a potential sale with a new CEO in the seat.”
Green and Zimmer began developing the company nearly 15 years ago, and launched the service in 2012, according to their separate letters to employees. They have jointly led the company since, including through a 2019 initial public offering that gave them special shares with stronger voting power.
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“To say I have loved leading Lyft is an understatement,” Green wrote in his letter to employees. “To say that I will miss working alongside you and this incredible team every day doesn’t even come close. This was an adventure of a lifetime, and I’ve loved every minute of it — the sweetness of the highs, and the pain of the lows that make you appreciate the next win that much more. I’m eternally grateful to this team.”
In addition to the changes in the C-suite, Lyft disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that top ride-hailing executive Ashwin Raj will step down. The ride-hailing unit will now report directly to the CEO, according to the filing.
Lyft shares sold for $72 in its IPO, and closed Monday at $9.60 before topping $10 in the extended session. Lyft stock has plummeted nearly 75% in the past 12 months, dropping 74.4% as the S&P 500 index
has declined 12.6%.
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