Lyft News

A letter from co-founder John Zimmer

Mar 27, 2023

Today, Lyft announced co-founder and CEO Logan Green and co-founder and President John Zimmer have decided to transition from their full-time executive management positions into non-executive roles as chair and vice chair of the Lyft board, respectively. David Risher, a seasoned technology executive who previously served as Amazon’s first head of product and head of U.S. retail — and a general manager at Microsoft — before co-founding Worldreader, will become chief executive officer.  You can read the full announcement here.

Below is a letter from co-founder John Zimmer to Lyft team members, and you can read letters from Logan Green and David Risher on the Lyft blog.


Logan said so much of what I feel. Nearly 15 years ago, I used our first product, Zimride, to ride across America so Logan and I could work alongside each other in that tiny office. We set out to turn our shared passion into something that mattered — a business built on a real-world social movement, one with such massive opportunity that it could reshape how we live for decades to come.

Today, I can reflect on what we’ve created, and feel proud that Lyft is doing just that. 

Every all-hands at Lyft ends with “The Y,” where I share the story of a meaningful connection sparked by Lyft. This has been a tradition since our first month with a few hundred rides, and one we’ve upheld as we saw rides and connections climb into the billions. I keep one of those stories printed on my desk to always remind me why we built this:

“Hello, About two weeks ago my best friend got a Lyft in San Francisco. She was very depressed and not in the best state of mind. Her driver gave her a hand made paper heart with a poem written on it in celebration of Valentine's Day. She said something along the lines of spreading love and positivity. At that point my friend broke down crying and confided in the driver that she was thinking about taking her own life. She spent an hour driving with my friend listening and talking. Whoever this driver is could very well have saved my best friend's life. I live in Ohio and can't always be there, so when this stranger turned off her Lyft and was just there for a random girl that got in her car, she temporarily took my place of best friend. I don't know who this driver is, but hopefully there is a way she could be told how much I am thankful for what she did. The girl that got into her car that day means the world to me and I can not express how appreciative I am of this driver's beautiful heart.”

In recent years, as pandemic isolation and political polarization have exposed cracks in our greater sense of community, our mission to bring people together has become even more important. Every day, millions of people connect in Lyft rides, helping demonstrate that people from all backgrounds, neighborhoods and walks of life can come together — even just for a short trip. This happens when a rider who had a tough day is comforted by their driver’s kind words. It happens when a driver and rider with opposing political views meet on common ground. And it happens when someone gets a safe ride home, a ride to the doctor or a ride to a job interview.

I’ve deeply loved my interactions with the driver community who make so much of this possible, from the early days of personally interviewing every driver, to ringing in each New Year by joining them on the road for 11 years straight – thank you to everyone who’s put their heart into giving a ride.

On the back of my first business cards, I wrote the following words and believe them now more than ever: "With your help, we’ll continue to empower a movement that demonstrates how community can solve one of the greatest challenges of our time."

My Y

This all started with that Zimride I took across the country in 2008 with my then-girlfriend and now wife. I’m grateful for her partnership throughout, and for the incredible family we’ve built together. To Cristina, my kids, my parents, sister, and close friends — thank you for hanging with me through everything including the hardest parts of my mental health journey.

To Logan, none of this would be possible without your strong and steady leadership, and your beautiful mind for innovation. The relationship we’ve built together over the last 16 years is very rare, and I don’t take it for granted. The trust, the support and the pushes were everything I needed. When I was down, you rose up. Our friendship has been one of the best parts of the journey and is a perfect demonstration of how two different people with very different skills and approaches are stronger together than apart.

To our current and former team members, thank you for proving that a passionate and dedicated group of people can overcome any challenge. We started with a crazy idea that we would put pink mustaches on regular people’s cars and create a community movement. We were met with disbelief and doubt. But thanks to all of you, we did it.

To David and our leadership team: One of my favorite childhood books is The Lorax. At the end of the book, the main character is thrown a seed with an inspiring call to build a better future. That’s what I think of today, as we pass this responsibility to you. We believe in you and what you will do to advance Lyft’s business and mission. So… catch! 🌱

👊 John