Lyft’s COO quits amid reports of conflicts with founders
Lyft confirmed Tuesday that its COO Travis VanderZanden has left the car ride-sharing startup, although the company is saying he left on good terms.
The announcement follows reports that VanderZanden, who joined Lyft over a year ago as part of its acquisition of car-washing service Cherry, was leaving Lyft due to unspecified tensions with founders Logan Green and John Zimmer, according to a Re/code report that cites anonymous sources.
“Eighteen months ago, Travis joined the Lyft team as part of the Cherry acquisition to help scale our operations,” Lyft communications director Erin Simpson said in a statement. “We’ve talked about the future and all agree that Travis will move on as we move forward into the company’s next chapter of growth. We appreciate everything he’s done here, and wish him the best in his next adventure.”
VanderZanden, who also served as Yammer’s chief revenue officer before co-founding Cherry in 2011, joined Lyft as its COO last year when the startup acquired Cherry in order to use the car-washing service’s officeless scaling model to aid its own expansion.
While the company declined to comment on reports that VanderZanden’s departure was caused in any way by friction with Lyft’s founders, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Fortune that the former Cherry cofounder’s options to tackle a bigger role at Lyft were limited now that Cherry’s expansion model had been successfully integrated and that his role at the company had likely just run its course.
The news of VanderZanden’s departure came on the same day as the announcement by fierce rival Uber that it has hired David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager, as its senior vice president of policy and strategy. As Fortune already reported, Uber says Plouffe’s role with the company will include “managing all global policy and political activities, communications, and Uber branding efforts.”
Lyft and Uber have seen their intense rivalry spill out into a public forum in recent weeks, at times in bizarre fashion, as each company has accused the other of shady tactics to recruit rival drivers and slow down each other’s service networks. Both startups also recently launched competing car pool features as part of their ongoing efforts to subvert the traditional taxi industry.