Minutes after Dara Khosrowshahi learned from a news report that he would be the next CEO of Uber, his phone rang. It was Uber’s head of communications, Jill Hazelbaker, who said “Welcome on board. Let’s get to work,” he recalls. Her next piece of advice was also very direct: “Get yourself a board of directors that will stand beside you and the company.”
It was an unusually blunt message from a head of public relations to an incoming CEO. But it was par for the course for Hazelbaker, who has become one of Silicon Valley’s most influential executives—in a career that so far has spanned Uber, Snap and Google—by telling other executives the truth, even if it is not what they want to hear.