Aaron Zifkin, the managing director of Canada for Lyft, is set to leave the role at the end of May.
Zifkin announced the move in a LinkedIn post, noting he is set to depart after more than three and a half years with the ride-hailing company.
“It’s just one of the proudest things I’ve ever accomplished in my career.”
– Aaron Zifkin
Speaking with BetaKit, Zifkin called his experience building Lyft’s presence in Canada from the ground up rewarding, noting that he is set to stay on with the company as an advisor. Lyft’s general managers for Ontario and Britsh Columbia, Hannah Parish and Peter Lukomskyj, respectively, are set to take over Zifkin’s duties following his departure.
Zifkin joined Lyft Canada in 2018 as its first employee in the country. He was tasked with overseeing Lyft’s operations and growth nationally as well as building out Lyft’s first international market beyond the United States. He joined Lyft from Airbnb, where he spent more than four years and served in a number of roles, including Airbnb’s country manager for Canada and later it regional director of Americas operations.
“We’re grateful to Aaron for more than three years of important contributions to Lyft, including launching our first international market and building strong rider and driver communities,” said Angie Westbrock, VP of global operations at Lyft. “The team in Canada is well-positioned for continued success, and we all wish Aaron the best.”
Since its initial launch in Toronto, Lyft has expanded to Ottawa and Vancouver, the latter in 2020 after a lengthy battle to bring ride-hailing to the province.
“The success of Lyft in Canada, starting in Toronto then over to Ottawa, and now on the West Coast in Vancouver, it’s been so rewarding,” said Zifkin. “When you have that vision of … bringing in a business for the first time and seeing if it will, in fact, connect with the DNA of the country and [then] seeing that actually happen, and the team and the investments that have been made here in Canada, it’s just one of the proudest things I’ve ever accomplished in my career.”
Zifkin told BetaKit his operations of Lyft’s Canadian business was in part about building out a playbook for further international expansion. He called Canada a great testing ground, pointing to things like vast geography, multiculturalism, different languages and access to talent as key ways the country can provide insights for international expansion to other markets.
Despite revenue losses caused by COVID-19 for the likes of Lyft and Uber, Zifkin said the pandemic has not affected Lyft’s plans in Canada and it remains committed to thoughtful expansion in the country. Speaking to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on ride-hailing and Lyft, Zifkin told BetaKit one of the top lessons he’s learned over the past year has been about the importance of sticking to Lyft’s company mission, which is to “to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.” He said this led Lyft Canada to provides services amid the pandemic that are focused on supporting front-line workers and rides to vaccine sites.
As for his part, Zifkin’s next mission will be focused on his board member role at the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. He is also focused on investing and working with Canadian startups and hinted to a potential upcoming announcement about his future employment in the coming months.