A familiar face will greet Sullivan at Uber, as former Facebook head of international growth Ed Baker joined the company in September 2013, following the social network’s former public policy manager Andrew Noyes, who took the same path that May (Noyes left Uber last April).
A Facebook spokesman confirmed Sullivan’s departure in a statement, saying:
Joe’s many contributions have made the Facebook community safer and more secure. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Sullivan said in a post on the Uber blog:
I’m excited about Uber’s mission of revolutionizing transportation and, like Travis and the leadership team at Uber, firmly believe building world-class safety and security are critical to that mission. I had the good fortune to work at two amazing companies — eBay and Facebook — when they were growing rapidly. I look forward to bringing the best practices that I’ve learned along the way to Uber and doing defining work in bridging the divide between the digital and physical worlds. There’s a great foundation of safety already in place; my goal is to make it even stronger.
This is a chance to help build the culture of a young and growing organization, and to continue building upon the safety and security initiatives that are the backbone of Uber’s success. It’s not an easy decision to leave a great company like Facebook, but this is a challenge where I get to take what makes Silicon Valley special and apply it to a product that directly impacts people’s lives everyday as they move around the world’s cities.
As Uber has grown to millions of trips per day in 300 cities in 56 countries, the breadth and complexity of the environment we operate in has multiplied. With millions of riders being supported by an always-growing data infrastructure, we’ve invested significantly in expanding and improving safety and security. An important part of that effort has been thoughtfully building our team with strong leadership like managing counsel of data privacy Katherine Tassi and head of global safety Phil Cardenas. We’ve also been looking for the right individual to oversee our global cybersecurity and safety efforts — someone who understands what makes Uber unique.
It’s easy to see the Uber logo on your phone and think of us as just an app. But in many ways, we’ve become a critical part of the infrastructure of cities. We are both in cyberspace and on city streets all at once; a bridge between bits and atoms. And as we get into tens of millions of rides a week, we continue to challenge ourselves to do even better when it comes to safety and data security.
It’s no longer about traditional metrics for safe transportation or keeping our community’s data private and secure, but about how we lead efforts to redefine and strengthen physical and data security in the location-based world. We see opportunities ahead not just in technology, through biometrics and driver monitoring, but in the potential for inspiring collaborations with city and state governments around the world. Our goal is to redefine what it means to be a world-class, people-centric protector of privacy.
Readers: How big of a blow to Facebook is Sullivan’s departure?