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Lyft adds Raj Kapoor as its first-ever chief strategist to take on rival Uber

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Though $63 billion ride-hailing giant Uber currently rules the roads of America, Lyft is aggressively pursuing its goal to swerve past them. In a bid to make this a reality, Lyft has announced the addition of two top-level executives to its management. This hiring also includes its first-ever strategy chief.

In an official statement, San Francisco-based Lyft announced that it has brought in Raj Kapoor as the chief strategy officer and Melissa Waters as VP of marketing to its executive team. Kapoor is a tech industry veteran who has an excellent entrepreneurial track record. He joins the company from VC firm Mayfield Fund, which led Lyft’s Series A round and added Kapoor as a board member of the team.

Thus, he is acquainted with the operations of the company inside out and is returning to help them gain back the pace. He has been tasked with helping the senior officials find new business opportunities relevant to the expansion of their service.

Whereas Melissa Waters is joining the ride-hailing giant from music streaming service Pandora. She was appointed as vice president of brand and product marketing at the same. She has fifteen years worth of brand development and marketing experience due to her variety of roles at Flip Video, Diamond Foods and The Home Depot. She will now continue to further Lyft’s positive image to fuel growth and expansion of its services.

We are thrilled to have Raj and Melissa join Lyft as we continue the momentum of the past year and work toward our vision of reconnecting people and communities through better transportation,

says Lyft president John Zimmer.

This addition to the team comes on the heels of the departure of other execs, including CMO Kira Wampler and VP of comms Brandon McCormick. Wampler is leaving the ride-hailing company to take on the role of CEO at Art.com, while Brandon plans to take some time off.

In a statement to Recode, a Lyft spokesperson says that the hiring of top-level executives doesn’t have anything to do with these exits. The company hired Waters ‘a few weeks ago’ and she was slated to report to Wampler. They learned of Wampler’s decision to leave the company only last week, and thus, they’re handing over her responsibilities to Waters. She will report directly to company president John Zimmer.

These hirings to fill in top executive positions comes at a crucial time for Lyft, who has been looking for potential suitors to pick up its ride-hailing business. It has recently declined offers from Google, General Motors and others due to unworthy valuation numbers. The company has last been valued at $5.5 billion, GM was offering it $6 billion but Lyft was looking for a $9 billion offer. Ah, the irony!!

Lyft is till behind Uber but its market share has grown 70% in the last year in the top 20 cities nationwide, and that seven of those cities are doing 500,000 rides each month. It will now be looking to add more money to its coffers to expand globally instead of just limiting its war in America.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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