Former president of the travel website Hotwire, Indian-American Neha Parikh, has been appointed as the new CEO of Waze, a crowd-sourced navigation app and a subsidiary of tech giant Google. Neha, 41, replaced Noam Bardin, who stepped down in November as the CEO. Noam had led the Israeli company for 12 years.
Neha, a board member of the online used car retailer Carvana, joined Waze as the CEO in late June. A veteran of online hospitality brand Expedia, Neha has served in various positions at two of the corporation’s subsidiaries — Neha is Hotels.com and Hotwire’s youngest and first female president.
“As Neha leads Waze into the future, she will remain hyper-focused on our passionate community, beloved brand, and best-in-class products,” a spokesperson of the company was quoted as saying.
At present, Waze has more than 140 million active monthly users in over 185 countries. They drive over 40 billion kilometres every month. The app is equipped to provide directions in as many as 56 different languages. It employs more than 500 people, many of whom are based out of Israel.
“On my first visit to the Carvana offices, I took a picture of their prominently displayed values, one of which is ‘Your next customer maybe your mom,’ which I love,” Parikh said in a statement.
“Relentless customer focus has been central to my career, so I’m thrilled to align with a company that puts their customers first,” she added.
Waze was founded in 2008 and soon became a tough choice among Uber and Lyft drivers. In 2013, Google acquired the company for a reported Rs 110 crore.
Waze is powered and used by drivers across the globe. These drivers connect with each other and work as a team to improve one another’s driving experience. As a community-based traffic and navigation app, Waze was created as a social navigation tool for private cars. One who uses Waze can actively report to the community on traffic, accidents, police traps, blocked roads, weather conditions and more. Analysing this information, Waze provides the most optimal route to their destination to other Wazers.
Google allowed the app to stay independent instead of absorbing it into its Maps division.