Uber Hires Its First Global Marketing Chief

“We’re excited to learn from her as we work to make Uber one of the world’s most valuable brands,” said Barney Harford, Uber’s chief operating officer, in a statement.

Ms. Messina said she was attracted to Uber because of the brand’s “potential” and the “utility that it gives” consumers.

The 46-year-old marketer joins Uber as the Silicon Valley startup has been airing an expensive campaign to repair its reputation, which took a hit after a rash of corporate scandals that ranged from the mistreatment of its drivers to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the company. The controversies eventually led to the resignation of the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick last year.

Recent ads have been more product specific, with one spot touting how the company is improving the safety of its service with new products including a new app feature that allows riders to let their families know they are on their way home.

Uber has spent $42.6 million on its “Moving Forward” TV ads that began airing in the U.S. in May, according to estimates from iSpot, an ad research firm.

Uber is doing “the right thing” in terms of marketing, said Ms. Messina. “Dara is getting out there right in front, he is humble, he is full of integrity and he means what he says,” she added. “That is what consumers need to hear before any other messages from us.”

Uber has been searching for a marketing chief for some time. In June, Uber’s Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, a well-regarded former Apple Music marketing executive, departed Uber for a CMO role at Endeavor, parent of talent agency WME-IMG.

For Ms. Messina, continuing to restore consumer trust in the Uber brand and differentiating it from an onslaught of completion from other ride-hailing companies such as Lyft Inc., which has seen its market share increase, will be critical. Uber plans to go public in the second half of 2019. 

Uber Technologies Inc. has hired its first global chief marketing officer, as the ride-hailing company continues to work on shoring up its embattled brand.

The San Francisco-based company has hired Rebecca Messina, a longtime Coca-Cola Co. marketing executive, who most recently was marketing chief for liquor maker Beam Suntory Inc.

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