Uber’s had some public relations challenges over the year, but its new board member might be able to help.
On Wednesday, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing giant announced that Huffington Post co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington has joined its board of directors.
Huffington is joining another media-savvy member of the company’s inner circle, David Plouffe, who is best known as Barack Obama’s former campaign manager and is now an advisor to Uber after briefly heading its communications strategy.
“From the start of our friendship it was obvious that she believes deeply in our mission: transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone,” Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in a blog post before recalling an anecdote Huffington shared with his employees about calling an Uber ride during a snowstorm in New York City. There’s even a cuddly video about the two’s relationship.
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“That ability to tell stories is invaluable for an engineer like me, whose natural tendency is to rely on data,” Kalanick continued. “As I’ve discovered, that doesn’t always work perfectly,” he added, undoubtedly referring to Uber’s many snafus in the media over the years.
Huffington co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005 with Kenneth Lerer and BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti as well as with a helping hand from Andrew Breitbart. The site covers a wide range of topics including politics, business, entertainment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, health, and local news, mixing news coverage and commentary. It was acquired by AOL in 2011 for $315 million.