Aarti Shah 14 Nov 2019 // 3:40PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Will Valentine has stepped down as head of communications at Lyft, nearly three years after joining the ride-sharing company.
Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer announced Valentine's departure in a memo last month. The Holmes Report obtained a portion of the note, in which Zimmer says:
"Early in the summer, Will let me know that he had been thinking about taking his career in a new direction and we’ve been working together to chart the right path forward for both him and Lyft. Will has been instrumental in leading Lyft’s emergence onto the national stage, establishing a strong team while doubling its size, and guiding Lyft through our IPO. I am extremely grateful for what he and the team have accomplished."
A spokesperson for Lyft confirmed that Adrian Durbin, Lyft's senior director of communications who has been with the company for more than three years, will act as interim head of communications. The leadership of Lyft's 23-person communications team also includes Alexandra LaManna, Julie Wood and Sheila Bryson. Lyft previously worked with Outcast, but now enlists agencies on a project basis.
Valentine joined Lyft in February 2017, as the company gained momentum in its fight for market-share against beleaguered industry leader Uber. He reported directly to Zimmer. Before Lyft, Valentine was head of communications for Pandora and before that spent more than a decade at Visa.
“What drew me to Lyft was the co-founders’ commitment to putting people and purpose first — the perfect setup for a communicator who likes pushing the envelope. I’ll always be one of the company’s loudest cheerleaders," he told the Holmes Report. “As for what’s next, I’m taking a break before tackling the next big thing. I’m excited about what’s ahead.”
Both Lyft, and its chief rival Uber, have recently faced disappointing IPOs as investors were skittish about their paths to profitability, fueled by a price war and labor issues. Also adding to their reputational load, both are dealing with pending labor regulation and public scrutiny around the overall safety of their rides.