Uber will have a new person running its newly thinned marketing department amid recent financial struggles. The ride-hailing company today named 10-year Google veteran Thomas Ranese as VP of global marketing.
The move comes after the company in late July said it plans to cut a third of its marketing department globally, or about 400 employees, in the face of slowing growth. Uber’s stock price has been sinking since it reported disappointing second-quarter results last week, including a net loss of $5.24 billion. Its adjusted loss, which excludes interest, tax and other expenses, more than doubled to $656 million, Bloomberg reported. Ranses held various marketing roles at Google, including overseeing its brand studio. He most recently was VP of global hardware marketing. In its announcement, Uber credited him with launching Google’s Pixel brand and rebranded Google Nest.
He will report to Jill Hazelbaker, Uber’s senior VP of marketing and public affairs. She took on marketing oversight after Uber in June parted ways with Rebecca Messina, who joined from Beam Suntory in September as the company’s first-ever global CMO.
An Uber spokesman on Tuesday confirmed the company does not have plans to hire a new CMO. Rather, he said the marketing team will have two lead executives reporting to Hazelbaker: Ranese, who will oversee product and brand marketing, including social media and creative; and Mike Strickman, a former TripAdviser executive who joined Uber in July as VP for performance marketing and growth.
Hazelbaker in today’s announcement cited Ranese’s “more than 20 years of public- and private-sector experience as a marketing leader, brand builder and strong operator with a history of demonstrated business impact.” His resume includes a stint as the first CMO of New York state, during which he oversaw a campaign that updated the iconic “I Love NY” campaign for the digital age.
Ranese in a statement said: “Uber is one of the rare companies that’s become a verb—and an iconic brand that’s redefining how we move, eat, work and more in cities around the world.”
“As Dara has said, marketing is more important to Uber than ever,” he added, referring to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “And I’m excited to work with teams around the world to strengthen our marketing capabilities, drive growth and help transform the Uber brand.”
But he could run into morale problems inside the severely cut marketing department. The layoffs gained notice across the marketing and ad industry. As Ad Age reported earlier this month, marketing professionals from outside Uber have rallied around the laid-off workers after a list of names of people losing their jobs circulated online, drawing interest from headhunters.