Uber has recruited from the ranks of Apple Music for the next stage of its ride.
Bozoma Saint John, who until recently was the global head of consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, has jumped to Uber where she takes duties as Chief Brand Officer.
A celebrated music industry exec with top-flight marketing credentials, Saint John is tasked with forging a “deeper, more meaningful connection” between the business and its millions of customers around the globe.
The San Francisco, California ride-sharing company has been on a strange journey in recent months. PR beatings from cabbies and government are nothing new for Uber, though the company has struggled to shake damaging charges of a top-down culture of misogyny and sexual harassment and it has been haemorrhaging key staff of late. The appointment of an African-American female (and mother) to its upper echelon is a statement on its shift toward diversity and equality.
Born in Connecticut, Saint John spent much of her youth in Kenya and Ghana, and went on to serve as head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing at Pepsi before joining Beats by Dre in 2014 (the company purchased by Apple in a multi-billion-dollar deal a few months after her arrival). While at Apple Music, the service grew to 27 million paid subscribers. Prior to that, she spent three years as head of music and entertainment marketing at PepsiCo where she facilitated a US$50 million deal with Beyonce.
More recently, she was named 2016’s Female Executive of the Year by Billboard Magazine, and featured in “power” lists for Fortune Magazine, Ad Age, Ebony Magazine and others.
The marketing wiz chatted with Billboard about her arrival into what is a new role for the company. “It feels like the Wild Wild West. We’re pioneers, and I am ready. I’ve got the tools. I’m ready to go and set out on this and see what is to come,” she said. “That’s the excitement of getting into this space, which is that I really don’t know what exactly we’re going to be trying to overcome.”
And when asked if the presence of minority women at a company guided her decision, she had this to say: “I wouldn’t say it helps weigh in on the decision, but I do think it’s important. I think diversity and having women and people of colour in key positions is really important. Obviously, I’ve been a black woman my whole life. I don’t have any other experience. [Laughs] I think I can contribute in major ways. To have the opportunity to do that is really important and I think more should be given those roles and opportunities.”