Over the last several months, Lyft has been aggressively adding to its executive ranks as it transitions from a scrappy startup to a more grown-up organization. Today it’s rounding out its product and engineering leadership with the hire of Peter Morelli as the company’s new VP of engineering.
Morelli most recently served as senior director of engineering at Twitter, where he worked in the platform group and focused on scaling the infrastructure to support real-time web and mobile systems for the service. Prior to joining the flock, Morelli was senior director of development and R&D at Salesforce, where he oversaw APIs, query engines, and the company’s fast-growing developer platform, while also building and managing Salesforce’s open-source program.
At Lyft, he joins an executive team that has hired up tremendously in the past year. On the engineering and product team, he joins VP of Data Science Chris Pouliot, who came over from Netflix in late 2013, as well as new VP of Product Tali Rapaport, whose hire was announced just a couple of months ago. More broadly, Lyft has also hired a new VP of Partnerships, Oliver Hsiang, CMO Kira Wampler and CFO Brian Roberts.
Morelli will report to CEO Logan Green, and will be focused primarily on building scalable systems within the company. In a phone interview, Lambert noted that Morelli joins Lyft at a similar point in the company’s growth trajectory as when he joined Twitter. At his previous job, Morelli managed more than 100 engineers in the platform group, and at Lyft he’ll oversee an engineering team that is expected to double in size — from 100 employees to 200 — over the next nine months.
In addition to his experience in leading engineering teams, Morelli believes his background in building reliable infrastructure for real-time applications will be beneficial to Lyft, whose customers depend on it for reliable info about pickup and travel times.
As the company scales, the amount of data it collects has increased, but so has the complexity of routing drivers to the right places. That challenge becomes even more complicated as Lyft’s shared-rides feature Lyft Line seeks to connect passengers with others who are traveling along the same route.
With Lyft Line a major focus in the coming months, having an exec to lead the engineering team who is familiar with the challenges associated with optimizing scalable systems in real-time could be a major boost.