Lyft hires former United Airlines exec to lead market expansion

Lyft has brought on former United Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Julia Haywood to serve as its VP of Strategy. The plan is for her to own Lyft’s market expansion efforts and accelerate growth.

“I’m excited to see Julia make a huge impact here at Lyft,” said Jon McNeill, chief operating officer at Lyft. “We are in a period of hypergrowth, and as the complexity of our product offerings and organization increases, Julia’s hands-on approach to tackling challenges is just what we need to best-position us for the future.”

That future likely entails an initial public offering. Just yesterday, news broke that Lyft has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the lead underwriter of its IPO, along with Credit Suisse Group and Jeffries Group. According to the WSJ, Lyft’s valuation will exceed $15.1 billion.

Since joining Lyft from Tesla in February, McNeill has made numerous hires to the team, including a handful from Tesla.

In September, Lyft hit one billion rides. Earlier that month, Lyft officially entered the scooter-sharing space when it launched electric scooters in Denver, Colo. Lyft has since deployed its scooters in Santa Monica, Calif. as part of the city’s pilot program. Lyft’s entrance into scooters came close after its acquisition of bike-share company Motivate.