Lyft COO Exits, Says Controversial NYC Launch Isn't the Reason
A major Lyft executive is losing his pink mustache.
Lyft Chief Operating Officer Travis VanderZanden is leaving after 18 months with the San Francisco-based company, according to Erin Simpson, the director of communications at Lyft.
“Travis joined the Lyft team as part of the Cherry acquisition to help scale our operations. We’ve talked about the future and all agree that Travis will move on as we move forward into the company's next chapter of growth,” said Simpson. “We appreciate everything he’s done here, and wish him the best in his next adventure.”
The parting sounds amicable enough according to Lyft, but Kara Swisher, who first reported that VanderZanden was hitting the road for ReCode, said the COO was clashing with founders Logan Green and John Zimmer.
Swisher’s report is not surprising. It’s probably been tense in the Lyft boardrooms of late.
After launching in San Francisco, Lyft spread quickly throughout small cities throughout the U.S. When Lyft attempted to launch in New York City this summer, however, the startup was pulled to a halt by city regulators.
Since then, Lyft agreed to utilize only drivers licensed by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. In other cities, Lyft users hitch rides from unprofessional drivers.
VanderZanden insists his departure has nothing to do with Lyft's New York City rollout.
VanderZanden isn’t leaving the pink mustached fleet alone. “Excited to have worked with the @lyft team, but myself and the entire Cherry/Yammer team resigned last week to pursue other opportunities,” the tweet says.
Lyft bought Cherry in March of 2013, acqui-hiring the entire operations team as it headed into an intensely aggressive expansion phase. Before launching car-wash ordering company Cherry.com, VanderZanden was the was the first business employee and chief revenue officer at social network Yammer.com.
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