Lyft Names Former Tesla Sales Boss Jon McNeill as COO

Lyft has been on a roll lately.

byStephen Edelstein| PUBLISHED Feb 9, 2018 11:00 AM
Lyft Names Former Tesla Sales Boss Jon McNeill as COO

As it works to ramp up production of the Model 3, Tesla has lost one of its top executives. Jon McNeill, the automaker's former president of global sales and service, will become Lyft's new chief operating officer.

Lyft announced McNeill's appointment as COO the day of Tesla's quarterly earnings call. With the news filtering in, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed McNeill's departure on the call, saying that "we wish him well in his future career," according to The Verge. Musk said that, going forward, "I will be having the sales and service report directly to me," adding that "there are no plans to search for a replacement."

McNeill is the latest high-profile hire for Lyft. Last year, it hired Garrett van Ryzin, who previously served as Uber's pricing expert. He was brought onboard to head Lyft's Marketplace Labs division, and was tasked with intertwining Lyft with other transportation options like public transit.

Lyft is looking to capitalize on significant growth in 2017. The company remains much smaller than rival Uber, but Uber's many 2017 scandals helped Lyft gain a larger share of the ride-sharing market. Lyft also got its self-driving car program up and running in 2017, and raised $1 billion in a funding round led by CapitalG, Google parent Alphabet's venture capital arm.

McNeill's departure might seem like trivial news in a week that also saw SpaceX launch a Tesla Roadster into space, as well as Tesla's biggest quarterly loss ever, but it could have a major impact. As Tesla increases the number of cars it sells, it will need a well-oiled sales and service apparatus to deal with a new influx of customers. It's one of the many variables that will determine if the Model 3 rollout is successful.