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Uber hires Target marketing chief as startup's president
[SAN FRANCISCO] Uber Technologies Inc hired Target Corp chief marketing officer Jeff Jones to run the ride-hailing company's global operations, marketing and customer support.
Mr Jones leaves the retailing giant to become Uber's first president, reporting to chief executive officer Travis Kalanick. Mr Jones replaces Ryan Graves, Uber's first CEO and a current board member. Mr Graves will become head of human resources and oversee nascent businesses, including food delivery and courier services.
"Over the last six months, Ryan and I have become increasingly convinced that our rapidly growing marketing efforts needed to be far more integrated with our city operations," Mr Kalanick wrote in a company blog post.
"Marketing is about storytelling, about attracting, engaging and retaining customers."
Uber has struggled to build a beloved brand. Drivers complain publicly about their pay, and customers have been similarly vocal in their opposition to surge pricing and other policies they disagree with.
Uber's reputation has been tied to its blustery co-founder and CEO, who has antagonized regulators and the taxi industry. Competitors play off this weakness, as Lyft Inc has done in the US with its pink mustache logo and friendly demeanour.
Target chief executive officer Brian Cornell said in a statement that Mr Jones was an effective leader at Target.
"He worked tirelessly to sharpen our focus on the guest and evolved our marketing capabilities to centre on the important role digital plays in their lives," Mr Cornell said.