Lyft’s new CEO tackles a job requiring some heavy lifting

May 2, 2023  -SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Even before he joined Lyft’s board in 2021, David Risher had taken hundreds of trips as a passenger so he felt like he knew a lot about the ride-hailing service. But he never expected to be thrust into the driver’s seat at a time when Lyft was running like a jalopy.

“I really was gobsmacked,” Risher said during an interview with The Associated Press as he recalled being recently asked to replace Lyft co-founder Logan Green as CEO.

Risher quickly shook off his initial shock and is now making an effort to reverse the San Francisco company’s mounting losses and sagging stock price. Just days after taking over as CEO, Risher came up with a restructuring plan that includes laying off nearly 1,100 employees whose job losses could help him attain stock price incentives potentially worth nearly $1 billion.

Like any mass layoff, the payroll purge will uproot the lives of those suddenly out of a job while sowing uncertainty among Lyft’s remaining 3,000 employees. But Risher believes the deep cuts had to be done so Lyft can afford to bring down its fares to the same levels as its longtime rival, ride-hailing leader Uber, which has rebounded from the pandemic much more robustly.

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