Waze has a new CEO: Neha Parikh, Hotwire’s president and a Carvana board member. Parikh replaces Noam Bardin, who is resigned as CEO of Google’s navigation service in November last year, after leading the company for 12 years.
Parikh will join Waze as CEO starting June, the company says. A veteran of the Expedia online hospitality brand, she has held a variety of positions at two of the company’s subsidiaries: Hotels.com, where she ended up as senior vice president for global brands and retail, and flight and hotel booking service Hotwire, where she became her partner. is currently president.
As Hotwire’s youngest and first female president, Parikh led “a return to growth by overhauling the business model, reshaping the product, and rebuilding the team and culture,” said Waze. The goal is for her to do the same at Waze.
“As Neha leads Waze into the future, she will remain hyper-focused on our passionate community, beloved brand and best-in-class products,” said a company spokesperson.
She was appointed to the board of Carvana in April 2019. The online car market praised Parikh for its focus on customer service. “During my first visit to the Carvana offices, I took a picture of their prominently displayed values, including ‘Your next client might be your mom’, which I love,” she said in the press release. “Relentless customer focus has been at the heart of my career, so I love joining a company that puts their customers first.”
Waze was founded in Israel in 2008 by Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine. The crowdsourced navigation app quickly grew in popularity, praised for its ability to account for traffic and construction work in real time. The app quickly emerged as a top choice among Uber and Lyft drivers. And today it has 140 million monthly active users who drive more than 24 billion miles (40 billion kilometers) every month.
The company was acquired by Google in 2013 for a reported $ 1.1 billion. And the app continued to thrive as Google didn’t stock it in its Maps division and allowed it to remain independent.
Like most companies, Waze went through a rough patch during the pandemic. The number of monthly active users, or the number of customers using the app each month, and mileage, the measure by which the company measures how far its customers drive while using Waze, have both decreased significantly. The company laid off 5 percent of its global workforce or 555 people in September. The burgeoning car pool service was hit particularly hard as people stopped commuting to work.