Ride-sharing company Lyft announced Monday it has added former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to its Board of Directors.
Jarrett, the only director with a government background, joins nine other members, most of whom are founders and investors. She is also the second woman to join the board.
Lyft CEO Logan Green shared in a statement “Valerie is one of our country’s foremost leaders and a distinguished public servant, and a natural fit for our board.”
Just as other companies have done in the sharing economy, such as Airbnb and Uber, Lyft’s latest move appears to be aimed at creating relationships with government agencies.
As Green states, “[Jarrett] will be a great partner for Lyft as we continue working alongside public transit agencies to provide upward mobility through transportation, reduce congestion, and ultimately reshape our cities."
With advocates around the globe concerned that car sharing pushes out regulated taxis and competes with cities’ public transit, adding a political veteran to its board may warm city governments up to their expansion.
This move may be particularly timely given a slew of incidents and PR disasters its competitor, Uber, has faced over the years. There have been longstanding allegations of sexual assault from some of its drivers and, most recently, surging prices at New York’s JFK airport in the midst of Donald Trump’s travel ban, a move many found to undercut protest efforts.
Jarrett — who served as the chair of the Chicago Transit Board for a decade and worked on other transportation issues for Chicago — may mitigate these natural tensions between the public sector and private car sharing services.