Uber has a new leader in the Pacific Northwest.
After five years of managing Uber’s transportation service across Seattle, Portland, and other Northwest cities, Brooke Steger has stepped down but will remain at the company.
Her replacement is Alejandro Chouza, who previously led Uber’s operations in Mexico City for three years and helped expand the company’s service to more than 10 cities in Northwest Mexico. Mexico became Uber’s third-largest market based on trip volume during his tenure.
Chouza told GeekWire he plans to follow the lead of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the former Expedia CEO who replaced founder Travis Kalanick in August and has helped curb the company’s traditionally brash and aggressive tone. This past November, Khosrowshahi wrote a blog post about Uber’s new cultural norms, which include “we do the right thing,” and “we celebrate differences.”
“It’s an opportunity to help Dara execute on his new vision of the company in a city and part of the U.S. I know and love,” said Chouza, who was a senior product marketing manager at Microsoft prior to joining Uber. “We’re at an inflection point in the company’s history, as well as within the rideshare industry as a whole. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to use our technology in partnership with cities to address transportation and environmental challenges.”
Rachel Holt, Uber’s U.S. and Canada general manager, said the company picked Chouza to lead its Northwest operations because of his track record with Uber in Mexico.
“He is a talented leader who will be able to carry out Dara’s vision for the company, which is marked by growing responsibly and putting integrity at the core of all our decisions,” she said.
Chouza said Uber plans to grow its Seattle engineering office, home to 250 employees and now led by former Axon executive Marcus Womack, who took over in December. He noted “a wealth of tech talent and expertise in the region.”
Steger joined Uber in 2013 and oversaw the company’s operations in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Wyoming. Back then, the company employed around 150 people total and just three folks in Seattle, where it was only offering its black car service — far from the $70 billion behemoth the San Francisco-based company has become.
Steger helped lead Uber’s growth in big cities like Seattle and Portland, and represented the company as it lobbied in Seattle City Hall and illegally launched in Portland. She told GeekWire this week that the job was “one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
Speaking at an event in October, Steger admitted that the company grew “faster than any of us ever expected, and I think we made some mistakes along the way.”
“It’s a really great time to refresh and to start focusing on everything that we need to, rather than just growing,” she said in October.
Steger said she’s thrilled to have Chouza in the Northwest, calling him “such a good and compassionate leader.”