The world’s most popular ride-hailing service, Uber is currently going through a series of top-tier management changes. After losing Alphabet exec David Drummond as its board member, the company is today announcing the appointment of its new President for the main ride-sharing business. And well, this is one sudden and surprising news for us all.

According to the official blogpost, Uber has poached Target’s chief marketing officer Jeff Jones as its new president of the ride-sharing business. He will be replacing Ryan Graves, and will be responsible for handling major divisions including operations, marketing and customer support globally.

On the other hand, Ryan Graves, who was Uber’s first hire and is a member of the company’s board will continue to be integrally involved as a resident entrepreneur and builder. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick points out that Graves will now also be overlooking the company’s People Operations and help Jason Droege build uberEVERYTHING(EATS, RUSH and others). He will also work closely with Kalanick on a series of “upcoming strategic projects“.

But, the real question here is — Why does Uber (actually) need CMO Jeff Jones to head the company’s main cab aggregation business?

Ryan is the progenitor of everything Uber Operations—setting the gold standard for what it means to run a truly great operations team in the on-demand world. But as we grow, marketing is becoming more and more of a thing, and it was clear we needed a real infusion of talent on that front.

adds Kalanick in the blogpost.

Well, according to Kalanick, Uber being the biggest startup and cab aggregation service in the world is now stepping into the next phase of operations. And to introduce bigger changes, the company has sought to fuse its marketing efforts with on-ground business operations.

Marketing, if stated simply, is about telling the correct story in the right form to attract, engage and retain customers. A majority of Uber’s city operations are focused on exactly that, and it is now looking to redefine how a large operations effort can be tightly integrated with a customer-obsessed marketing strategy.

Thus, the company went big and poached an executive with immense ‘story-telling’ skills and the experience of managing a global brand. Jones has held leadership roles at the best creative agencies (Leo Burnett), consumer products companies (Coca-Cola) and retailers (Target and Gap). And Uber couldn’t possibly find anyone better than him to head its key business.

Jones and Kalanick first met a TED Talk in February, and within minutes were chatting about the company’s future and improvements needed to up its reputation as a global brand. It has six months since then and the two have discussed everything from profitability to brand image, and even ways to further differentiate its driver experience most effectively.

Kalanick excited to see Jones at the helm of his dream project, concludes by saying,

It’s super clear to me that Jeff understands scale, operational excellence, innovation and storytelling—and that he’s up for learning and testing his limits. Most of all I love Jeff’s optimism about, and enthusiasm for, our mission.


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