Things at Uber have been quite a mess for a long time now. From executive step-downs, to sexual harassment accusations, to multiple lawsuits from outside, as well as within the board, Uber has seen it all over the last year.
Now, as Dara Khosrowshahi has been appointed CEO, there seems to be certain hope that Uber will be able to drag itself out of this mess. Shortly after the controversies surrounding Travis Kalanick came to light, Uber had appointed a chief brand officer, Bozoma Saint John.
Saint John joined Uber after her tenure at Apple, where she was the head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes. She is one of few black women who are top Silicon Valley executives. Like most tech companies, Uber has been criticized for its lack of workforce diversity. One of Saint’s goals is to change this notion.
On top of its cultural issues, Uber has also been the victim of various public scandals like the #DeleteUber movement, workplace sexual harassment allegations and a chaotic company culture, which forced Kalanick to resign.
Saint John spoke about how she’s handling Uber’s brand as it continues its legal battles with Waymo and other federal probes that cropped up recently. While she noted that she’s not involved with the legal matters themselves, she does understand how and to what extent they can impact the brand image.
“The interest right now is in those legal matters,” Saint John admitted. “I’m trying to figure out how to tell a more balanced story. Not that those things aren’t important – they’re critically important, and those should be resolved – but I do want to create a balanced conversation,” she said.
Saint John didn’t go into depth as to her strategy, but she did highlight what Uber’s doing to change its ways in the coming days, including its “180 days of change” campaign, which has been incorporating driver feedback into its product developments, leading to new features like in-app tipping and 24/7 support.