- Uber's Chief Marketing Officer Rebecca Messina is resigning as the ride-hailing giant restructured its top management. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he decided to combine the company's marketing, communications and policy teams to maintain a "unified narrative to consumers, partners, the press, and policymakers," per an email cited by CNBC.
- Jill Hazelbaker, who was senior vice president of communications and public policy, now also oversees marketing for Uber. COO Barney Harford also stepped down after Khosrowshahi decided the heads of Uber's core businesses should report directly to him.
- The managerial changes followed Uber's initial public offering on May 10. Khosrowshahi said that with the IPO behind the company, now was a good time to simplify its organization and set the stage for future growth.
Messina's departure from Uber marks the latest change among CMOs at ride-hailing companies. The shakeup follows the departure of CMO Joy Howard from Lyft last month, as she joined password manager and digital wallet app Dashlane in the same role. Lyft also eliminated the CMO role, dividing the responsibilities between a VP of marketing operations and VP of brand that report directly to co-founder and President John Zimmer.
Messina joined Uber in October in the newly created CMO role as the company sought to redefine the brand after past controversies led to the ouster of company founder Travis Kalanick. When Khosrowshahi took over as CEO in August 2017, he immediately set out on a rebranding effort to tell people how the company was working on improvements for riders, drivers and employees. That effort helped to set the stage for this year's IPO that valued the company at $82.4 billion, which was somewhat of letdown from earlier efforts to reach a valuation of $120 billion. Uber's stock price dipped 7.6% on the day of IPO, but has since recovered somewhat as the broader market bounced back from a dismal May.
Messina's departure may be another indication that organizations are questioning the value of a CMO. The average tenure for CMOs frequently fluctuates, and fell from 44 months to 43 months last year — a length of time far shorter than other key appointments in the C-suite — according to new research from exec search firm Spencer Stuart. Other companies, including Coca-Cola, Hyatt and Unilever have moved to sunset their CMO or equivalent roles in favor of executive titles centered around growth, digital technology and data.