One of President Obama’s longest serving advisors is hopping on board with Lyft.
Valerie Jarrett has filled the company’s ninth (and final) board seat, ending a long search by the ride-sharing service. Most recently, Jarrett served as senior advisor and assistant to President Obama for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.
“I am a frequent Lyft passenger and have been inspired by the strong community John and Logan have created that is dedicated to enlightened corporate values,” said Jarrett in a statement. “We share a belief that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility, and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities. I am thrilled to join the ride.”
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Jarrett may assist Lyft with its ongoing talks with public transit agencies to cut through much of the red tape that can affect the company’s expansion. Before working for Obama, she served as the commissioner of planning and development for the city of Chicago and chair of the Chicago Transit Board.
The addition of Jarrett to the company’s board comes as Lyft’s chief competitor Uber is in the midst of a PR crisis. Uber is in the midst of a search for a new CEO following founder Travis Kalanick’s resignation from the role amidst allegations of systemic sexual harassment. Most recently, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman—who many had speculated was a CEO candidate—made it very clear she has no interest in the job. (Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt is now reportedly on the shortlist.)