Uber poached Amazon’s Alexa shopping chief Assaf Ronen who will be joining the firm as Senior Vice President and Head of Product later this month, Recode reported last week, citing sources familiar with the matter. The San Francisco-based startup confirmed the move shortly after the leak as part of a company-wide memo authored by Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi. Uber‘s head disclosed Mr. Ronen’s arrival is meant to compensate for the departure of the company’s current product chief Daniel Graf who’s now set to leave the firm he joined two and a half years ago, with the startup originally hiring him to head its Marketplace Dynamics division responsible for the technology which connects riders with drivers.
The move marks yet another high-profile departure of an Uber executive from the era of former CEO Travis Kalanick whose management team started getting replaced last summer after Mr. Khosrowshahi was appointed to head the ride-hailing service provider. Since then, Uber Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan and corporate culture chief Francis Frei both left the company which also hired its first Chief Operating Officer ever after Mr. Khosrowshahi took the helm. Mr. Ronen that’s now set to head the firm’s core product group previously worked on a wide variety of projects at Amazon and Microsoft.
Mr. Khosrowshahi’s memo revealed the company initially planned to announce the latest management change this spring but is now doing so beforehand as the information ended up being leaked to Recode. The CEO also noted Uber is planning to place a larger focus on its core Product division over the course of this year as it’s striving to cut down its costs and improve the overall state of its finances. The startup is presently trying to balance its books in preparation for an initial public offering it’s targeting in 2019. Going forward, Uber will still be committing significant resources to its technological endgame – self-driving cars.