Lyft's new CEO on what's next, cost cuts, and possible sale: 'We are ready to fight'
Lyft's (LYFT) incoming CEO, David Risher, says he is up to the task of driving a better Lyft business, and it starts with taking the fight back to larger rival Uber (UBER).
"Our top priority is getting a great experience to our customers. To a certain extent, a focus on the basics — we pick you up on time, we are priced in line with the other guys and get you where you want to go," Risher said on Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday (video above).
"I am kind of OK with you calling it the battle is back," he added. "We are ready to fight, and hopefully do well."
The No. 2 ride-hailing player said Monday that the Amazon (AMZN) veteran Risher — who has been on Lyft's board for about 18 months — would take over as CEO on April 17.
Risher will replace cofounders Logan Green and John Zimmer, who are taking a step back from active management of Lyft but will stay on the board of directors.
Lyft's C-suite shakeup comes as the company's stock price has plunged 76% in the past year amid growing market-share loss to Uber.
Uber has consolidated its leading position in ride-hailing by continuing to deepen its entry into food delivery, among other super app tendencies.
The company's increased market share has weighed on Lyft's results as Uber has reinvested its winnings in lower ride prices and an improved app experience.
Investors are hopeful Risher's track record of strong operational execution at Amazon will yield results at Lyft. But Wall Street acknowledges it will take some time for Lyft to regain its footing — if it can at all.
"We see the transition signaling a strategic shift toward more proactive competition with Uber. That said, the transition could cast additional uncertainty before we get greater visibility on the path forward," Jefferies analyst John Colantuoni said in a client note.
Two things stood out to us from our chat with Lyft's Risher
On the potential for further cuts (note: Lyft let go of about 13% of its workforce in Nov. 2022):
"For the last 14 years, I have been running an organization [WorldReader] that has had to solve big problems — in this case around literacy — but with very small budgets. So I am very comfortable with the idea that honestly, sometimes you can sort of get twice the team without twice the people. So we are doing a lot of work there to try to figure out how to get our costs as good as they can be."
On whether a sale of Lyft would be on the table:
"We always look at options and people approach us from time to time. Right now our focus is on creating such a great service that in whatever configuration, we are going to be relevant — valuable — either as a standalone company or something else."
Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on the banking crisis? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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