Well that was fast. Just a few days after it was revealed that Groupon product chief Jeff Holden was leaving the daily deals giant to join a “Bay Area tech company,” we now know where he has landed. Uber announced this morning that it has hired Holden as its new Chief Product Officer.
Holden joined Groupon in 2011 after his startup Pelago was acquired. Pelago made a Foursquare-like, location-based check-in product called Whrrl, but it was shut down and Holden & co. were integrated into the Groupon product team.
Prior to Pelago, Holden had spent years at Amazon where he was an early hire. Starting there in 1997, he held various roles in the supply-chain optimization and consumer applications divisions of the online retailer. He oversaw many aspects of the Amazon site experience, including search and personalization, and led the development of Amazon Prime.
At Uber, Holden will report to CEO Travis Kalanick and lead the product team in San Francisco. While his experience at Amazon and Groupon point to his ability to scale large product organizations, Kalanick also called out Holden’s “passion, discipline and imagination” from his time as an entrepreneur that will be invaluable in his role at the on-demand ride startup.
This is just the most recent in a series of big hires that Uber has made. Last September the company hired Google exec Brent Callinicos as its CFO, Klout COO Emil Michael as its VP of Business, and Facebook Head of International Growth Ed Baker as its Head of Growth.
UPDATE: Here’s what Holden had to say (by email):
A lot of people talk about the rare company that accomplishes this or that cool thing, but Uber takes rarity and specialness to the next level. It’s a notoriously difficult entrepreneurial challenge to create a thriving two-sided marketplace from scratch. But to do it as quickly as Uber with such a magical experience, and to simultaneously have the strategic foresight and wherewithal to relentlessly start from the customer and work backward is another thing altogether. Yet this is truly day one at Uber: The vision far transcends what is visible today. The idea of being on this journey with this amazing team is truly awesome.
Here’s the text of Kalanick’s blog post:
I’m super-pumped to announce that Jeff Holden is joining Uber as our Chief Product Officer. I can’t imagine a better fit for Uber’s entrepreneurial culture and world-changing mission. He will be a strong strategic thought partner for the executive team and someone with whom I can spar to solve Uber’s hardest problems and invent our future. Having experienced Amazon’s hyper-growth from the very early days, Jeff knows how to think big while building for the long-term and scaling a world-class product organization. But the icing on the cake is the force multiplier of Jeff having been an entrepreneur in his own right. The passion, discipline and imagination that comes from being an entrepreneur is invaluable, and when those characteristics can spread through your organization at scale, the potential is limitless. I have high hopes for our new partner in the business, and I know Jeff is up for meeting and exceeding them. Welcome to the team!