Lyft Poaches Amazon Executive to Lead Its Finances

Lyft Inc.

poached an Inc.

executive to become its next finance chief, a change in the ride-hailing firm’s C-suite that comes shortly after the company reached an important profitability milestone.

San Francisco-based Lyft on Thursday said

Elaine Paul

has been named chief financial officer, effective Jan. 3. Ms. Paul succeeds current CFO

Brian Roberts,

who is stepping down after seven years in the role but will stay on as an adviser until June 2022. His departure as CFO isn’t the result of any disputes or disagreements, Lyft said in a filing with securities regulators.

Elaine Paul, Lyft’s new CFO.


Lyft Inc.

Ms. Paul joins a growing club of finance executives who previously worked as divisional CFOs at Amazon and have left the retail giant to take on the top finance job at another company.

As CFO and vice president of finance at Amazon Studios, Ms. Paul since July 2019 has been responsible for portfolio and financial planning of the company’s film and television programming, studio operations and its Prime Video marketing finance division. She previously served as CFO of video-streaming service Hulu and before that spent nearly two decades at

Walt Disney Co.

in senior finance, strategy and business development roles, Lyft said in a press release.

Mr. Roberts has served as Lyft’s CFO since November 2014 and helped prepare the company for its initial public offering in March 2019. A former

Walmart Inc.

executive, Mr. Roberts together with other leaders led Lyft through the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A combination of strong demand for rides as well as cost cuts caused the company to book its first profit on an adjusted basis before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization during the quarter ended June 30, a quarter earlier than expected. Lyft reported an adjusted Ebitda profit of $23.8 million for the period after years of booking losses. It continues to report net losses.

Lyft rival

Uber Technologies Inc.

achieved the adjusted Ebitda milestone a quarter later, during the period ended Sept. 30, when it booked adjusted Ebitda of $8 million. It was the first time in its roughly decadelong history that Uber reported a positive figure for this metric, helped by a recovery in its rides business and the continued strength of its food-delivery unit, Uber Eats.

Both companies are facing some of the same challenges, including driver shortages, which are driving up prices for customers. The companies in recent quarters have provided incentives to make it attractive for people to drive for them but are now working to rein in some of that spending.

Lyft’s revenue during the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased 73% to $864 million from the year-earlier period, while its net loss narrowed to $71.5 million, down from $459.5 million a year earlier.

Your average Uber or Lyft ride cost 50% more this summer than before the pandemic. But prices were inching up even before lockdowns began. Here’s what drove rideshare prices through the roof, and how the companies are working to bring them back down. Composite photo: David Fang/WSJ

“Over the past seven years, Brian has made a huge contribution to Lyft. With his support and leadership, Lyft went public and reached adjusted Ebitda profitability—two critical milestones,” Lyft co-founder and CEO

Logan Green

said in the press release. The company declined to make Ms. Paul or Mr. Roberts available for an interview.

In her new role, Ms. Paul will have an annual base salary of $450,000, Lyft said in its filing. She will receive a sign-on bonus of $1.5 million and be eligible for restricted stock units and other executive compensation.

Ms. Paul will likely focus on helping to maintain the company’s revenue rebound and on improving the efficiency of its promotional offerings to consumers and drivers, said Dan Ives, managing director at investment bank Wedbush Securities Inc.

“Lyft, from a financial perspective, is on a much better path today than it was 24 months ago, and now it’s about making sure that a new CFO can navigate through any turbulence,” Mr. Ives said.

Write to Nina Trentmann at [email protected]

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