Lyft’s brand and marketing department is getting a shakeup. The ride-hailing company said Friday that it’s hired two new executives to help head the department, while also saying goodbye to its recently hired chief marketing officer, Joy Howard.
Jabari Hearn is joining Lyft from Google to be the ride-hailing company’s vice president of brand. And Heather Freeland is coming over from Facebook to be Lyft’s vice president of marketing operations.
“Jabari and Heather are world-class leaders with proven track records of growing iconic brands,” John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder and president, said in an email.
The move comes as Lyft has experienced a rocky couple of months on the stock market. When the ride-hailing company issued its initial public offering at the end of March, its first day of trading was strong with its share prices up nearly 9% to $78.29.
But things quickly took a turn and it’s pretty much been a continual downhill slide ever since. As of Thursday’s close, Lyft’s share price was down 19% from that first day of trading to $58.11.
Over the past couple of months, Lyft seemed to be doing what it could to drum up business. It’s offered discount rides to passengers across the country, it launched its low-cost carpool service in more cities and it added new safety features to its app like a 911 emergency button. Now it looks like it’s going to hit harder on marketing.
Lyft has a history of putting an emphasis on its brand. In earlier years, the company had drivers outfit their cars with big, pink, fuzzy mustaches and it dubbed itself “your friend with a car.” Last year, the company blanketed cities in billboard campaigns that thanked drivers for their work. Lyft has since dropped the mustache, but pink is still its color of choice.
Hearn will help head branding and marketing efforts at Lyft, including creative, culture, events, experience and bike and scooter marketing. At Google, he was the global marketing director of mobile, laptops and wearables and headed up campaigns for devices like the Google Pixel smartphone. Before that, he worked for Nike and launched the Nike Equality campaign and a partnership with the NFL, which led to the shoe company’s work with activist and former football quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Freeland was Facebook’s head of global marketing communications and oversaw the social media company’s business-to-business marketing programs and operations, along with brand strategy. Now, at Lyft, she’ll be tasked with several marketing endeavors, as well as consumer insights and media.
As far as Howard stepping down as CMO, Lyft said she’s pursuing another opportunity outside of the company that will focus on digital rights, privacy and net neutrality. Howard joined Lyft as its CMO in October to help lead the company’s marketing team and brand “through the next phase of growth.”