Lyft Taps Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett For Board Seat

by: Lenore T. Adkins Special to the AFRO
/ Valerie Jarrett (Courtesy Photo/Twitter) /
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Valerie Jarrett is joining the board of directors for Lyft, the company announced July 31.

Valerie Jarrett (Courtesy Photo/Twitter)

Jarrett, formerly the senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will serve as an independent director on the now nine-member board.

The Washington Post reports that Jarrett will focus on urban transportation issues. She was previous the chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority board, and commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

“I am a frequent Lyft passenger and have been inspired by the strong community [co-founders] John [Zimmer] and Logan [Green] have created that is dedicated to enlightened corporate values,” Jarrett said in a statement. “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 joins Lyft amid a time of growth for the company. It has expanded operations to more than 360 communities and completed more rides this year than in all of 2016, the company said in the statement announcing Jarrett’s position. Yet Uber remains the industry leader with a $70 billion valuation, nearly 10 times Lyft’s, the Post reported.  

Jarrett hails from Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and remains active in the city.

She sits on the board of Ariel Investments and also is an advisor to The Obama Foundation.

She is the latest figure from the Obama administration to connect with the ride-sharing industry. Former attorney general Eric Holder helmed an investigation into Uber’s corporate culture after several scandals at the company came to light this year.

Jarrett will serve on the board with co-founders Green and Zimmer; Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz; GM President Dan Ammann; Icahn Capital’s appointee Jonathan Christodoro; investor and former Trulia CFO Sean Aggarwal; Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani; and Floodgate Fund’s Ann Miura-Ko on the Lyft board.   

“Valerie is one of our country’s foremost leaders and a distinguished public servant, and a natural fit for our board,” Green said in a statement. “She will be a great partner for Lyft as we continue working alongside public transit agencies to provide upward mobility through transportation, reduce congestion, and ultimately reshape our cities.”

Zimmer added that that Jarrett has a perspective that will propel the company forward “as we work to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.”

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