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Twin Management Exit at Uber as CEO Increases Control

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Uber Technologies (UBER - Free Report) , which went public last month, recently announced that its chief operating officer (COO), Barney Harford, and chief marketing officer, Rebecca Messina, will exit the company as part of a leadership overhaul. Notably, Harford served as Uber’s COO since January last year and Messina, who joined Uber last year, was its first-ever chief marketing officer and she served in that capacity for less than a year. Harford will serve the company until July to facilitate a smooth transition.

Following the revamp, Jill Hazelbaker, who currently oversees the company’s functions — pertaining to policy and communications, will also look after the ride-hailing giant’s marketing operations going forward. Hazelbaker will serve as the senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, following the merger of marketing, communications and policy teams.

Additionally, the San Francisco-based company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi decided to eliminate the COO position, with Andrew Macdonald being promoted to the position of senior vice president of Global Rides.  Macdonald will look after the company’s Global Rides business, Community Operations, Safety and Insurance, and Uber for Business.

The changes will enable Khosrowshahi to take more control of the company’s operations. Khosrowshahi’s efforts to have a firmer grip on Uber’s operations can be gauged from the fact that Jason Droege, who leads the Uber Eats business, will report him directly along with Andrew Macdonald.

Khosrowshahi, in a company-wide memo, reportedly stated, "I now have the ability to be even more involved in the day-to-day operations of our biggest businesses, the core platform of Rides and Eats, and have decided they should report directly to me".

Uber hopes that the slew of changes in management will yield desired results and boost the stock that has struggled ever since its debut. In fact, shares of Uber are currently trading below its IPO price of $45. Moreover, the company recently incurred loss in the first quarter of 2019 primarily due to high costs. Notably, Uber, which competes primarily with Lyft (LYFT - Free Report) in the ride-hailing market, is spending significantly on promotions and driver incentives in a bid to gain market share.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Uber currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the Business Services sector are Navigant Consulting and WEX (WEX - Free Report) . While Navigant Consulting presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), WEX has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term expected EPS (three to five years) growth rate for Navigant Consulting and WEX is 13.5% and 14.8%, respectively.

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