Uber's brand guru, Bozoma Saint John, leaves after just one year

Bye-bye Bozoma.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
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Uber executive Bozoma Saint John is leaving the company to become chief marketing officer for media company Endeavor.

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Uber's top celebrity executive, Bozoma Saint John, is leaving after only one year.

Saint John was brought on as the ride-hailing company's chief brand officer in June 2017 to help clean up its image after being wracked by months of scandals. In her short tenure at Uber, she was regularly the public face of the company. She spoke at tech conferences and appeared in magazines like Vogue, New York Magazine, Glamour and Cosmopolitan.

She's leaving Uber to be the chief marketing officer for entertainment company Endeavor. Recode first reported the news.

"I want to thank Boz for her contributions over the last year," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an emailed statement. "Boz joined Uber at a time when the company was hurting -- but her energy, optimism and creativity have been a key part of our ongoing turnaround."

Saint John joined Uber from Apple, where she was the head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes. She is one of few black women who is a top Silicon Valley executive.

She came onto Uber just days before its former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down. His resignation came after Uber was outed by Susan Fowler, a former female engineer, for being rife with sexual harassment and having a chaotic company culture. Uber, like most tech companies, has also been criticized for its lack of workforce diversity.

"I was very aware of what I was walking into," Saint John said during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last September. "For me, the important thing was to figure out how to manage this brand."

Since then, Uber has been working on a nicer, more clean-cut image. Khosrowshahi has taken a more conciliatory tone than his predecessor and even appeared in a high-profile ad campaign saying Uber will take responsibility for its mistakes and adhere to its new core value of  "doing the right thing."

Now with Saint John leaving, Uber has few female executives. Another woman brought on last year to fix Uber's corporate culture, Frances Frei, also left the company in February. Frei was only with Uber for nine months. The company did hire Bo Young Lee in January to be its first diversity and inclusion officer.

Correction, June 12 at 10:26 a.m.: Endeavor is an entertainment company.

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