Lyft COO Is Leaving The Company Just Months After IPO

Jul 29
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Just four months after the world’s #2 ride-hailing service went public, Jon McNeil of Lyft Inc will be stepping down from his role as Chief Operating Officer.

Second in command at Lyft is leaving the company after only 18 months

Jon McNeil has served as the COO at Lyft for roughly 18 months starting in February of 2018. The executive joined Lyft after working as president of Tesla’s sales and services group.

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McNeil was in charge of all customer-facing operations during his stint at the electric car manufacturer Tesla. He directly oversaw and helped develop Tesla’s mobile-services and in-store customer experiences so Lyft undoubtedly saw an innovator in McNeil when it was searching for a COO. Lyft has since then sprouted numerous initiatives branching out from simple ride-hailing and McNeil had a large part to play in that.

That is why it’s rather shocking to learn that he is departing the company. We hadn’t heard about any discontent among Lyft’s upper executive ranks, and while it did lose its chief marketing officer in May, it did not reprise the CMO role – so possibly that was the company simply streamlining its leadership structure. McNeil’s departure can’t be seen as good, however, Lyft isn’t offering any comments to any publication at this time so we are left wondering just what happened.

The company just went public a few months ago and, to be frank, it’s simply not been a good showing since then. While first-day enthusiasm helped boost Lyft’s stock price, prices plummeted soon after with levels dropping to as much as 40 percent below IPO levels in the weeks following. It has recovered somewhat, as of today $Lyft is trading at $64.03, down about 18 percent from the initial offering.

Rival Uber (NYSE:UBER) is faring slightly better – now a bit over two months removed from its IPO it is trading just one percent up since shares hit the market, yet that is still far from good. Both companies are struggling to monetize effectively and both are burning cash at an alarming rate, complete with no clear path to profitability.

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Tough times ahead?

Keep in mind that is just how it is right now with the entire ride-hailing market largely left to just Lyft and Uber. Looming on the horizon could be an even more sinister threat to Lyft and its big brother – that of a new wave of robotaxi entrants. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said during an investor day earlier this spring that a wave of self-driving Tesla’s used for ride-hailing is not just a prong of the automaker’s long term strategy – but its ultimate goal. 

If Lyft can’t claw its way into the black as things stand now, what lies in store for it once a fleet of self-driving Teslas – utilizing some of the most advanced autopilot technology in the world – hits the street? Perhaps McNeil saw the writing on the wall and decided it was best to move on to better long term prospects, but that would be pure speculation.

What we can say is losing an asset like Jon McNeil just months removed from the all-important IPO has certainly raised many eyebrows and most likely related to the news, Lyft stock dropped over two percent today.

 

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