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Lyft says Valerie Jarrett is a 'natural fit' for its board

The ride-hailing company brings a former Obama advisor onto its board of directors.

valerie-jarrett

Lyft's newest board member is former President Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Lyft

Lyft is adding some political power to its board of directors. 

The ride-hailing company said Monday that Valerie Jarrett, formerly a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, is joining its board. The appointment marks the latest move by a DC insider to a Silicon Valley company.

"Valerie is one of our country's foremost leaders and a distinguished public servant, and a natural fit for our board," Lyft CEO Logan Green said in a statement. "She will be a great partner for Lyft as we continue working alongside public transit agencies to provide upward mobility through transportation, reduce congestion, and ultimately reshape our cities." 

Jarrett is one of several former high-powered political figures to turn to Silicon Valley after working in Washington. Among others, Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state for George W. Bush, sits on Dropbox's board, while former Vice President Al Gore is on Apple's board.

Uber, Lyft's main rival, has also looked to the Obama White House for staff. David Plouffe, a senior advisor for Obama, was head of policy for Uber from 2014 until January. He now works for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. 

Uber also hired former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an investigation into its corporate culture after allegations of workplace sexual harassment surfaced.

Lyft has experienced a boost in ridership over the last year, partially due to Uber's stumbles. Uber has seen a whirlwind of scandals with its drivers and staff that ultimately led to the departure of its co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick last month. Lyft said it has completed more rides this year than all of 2016. It has also expanded to more than 360 cities across the US.

Jarrett most recently worked as a senior advisor on public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for the Obama White House. She was also the chair of the Chicago Transit board and has worked on issues of urban transportation for Chicago in the past.

"I am a frequent Lyft passenger and have been inspired by the strong community John and Logan have created," Jarrett said in a statement, referring to  Lyft's co-founders. "We share a belief that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility, and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities. I am thrilled to join the ride."