[UPDATED] Bozoma Saint John, one of Apple Music’s most visible executives, has resigned and joined Uber as its Chief Brand Officer. Saint John had been Pepsi’s head of music and entertainment before joining Beats Music just months prior to Apple buying the music streamer and headphone manufacturer.
Before joining Apple Music and now Uber, Bozoma Saint John first gain prominence for moving Pepsi aggressively into music and entertainment. But it was her demo (video below) on stage at last year’s Apple worldwide developer conference as Apple Music’s head of Global Consumer Marketing that cemented her star status.
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Now, almost exactly a year later, Boz is leaving the company for Uber. In a series if interviews, Saint John shared her feeling about working at Apple and the reasons for her move.
You were building such a profile at Apple Music, why was it a good time to leave?
“I really did enjoy my time at Apple — it’s a great company and I really loved building Apple Music. For me it’s not really about why I’m leaving but where I’m going: I truly believe that Uber is such a great opportunity. I feel really proud of the work I did at Apple Music and I don’t take anything away from it that’s negative at all. I really enjoyed it there and I want to do great work for Uber, too.”
Will you miss working in music?
“I don’t think I’m leaving working in music, quite frankly! [Laughing] I feel like this is another pop-culture moment and maybe that’s part of the vision too. For me, pop culture is very fluid: it’s music, it’s movies, it’s books, it’s art, it’s tech, it’s so many things — and as marketing and brand advocates we should be able to to take products and services and match them to what’s happening in pop culture. To think that those things are separated is actually not very wise, I think. So to me the vision of what I will do at Uber is to connect those things together: pop culture and this very magical tech service. So I’m not leaving music — music is coming with me.”
To Billboard on Apple Music:
You worked on many music projects while at Apple Music. What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
“I am really proud of the work that we all did together at Apple. Launching Apple Music and having it grow to the size that it is now is something I will always be proud of. That, in and of itself, is a monumental task. To me, those are accomplishments I carry with pride.”
What would you consider to have been your biggest challenge in that role?
“There’s certainly lots of challenges. The business continues to constantly move and change. It’s a very fluid type of conversation, always, with [launching] a service that you have to explain to people and bringing it to the forefront in a way that is easy and tangible. I don’t think of anything really as a challenge. It’s more of an opportunity to change the way that consumers interact with something. It’s the same thing I want to do here [at Uber] too.”
To Business Insider on Uber
“It’s a magical product. “People love to use it.”
“It’s grown so quickly in such a short amount of time — and leadership and others have been so focused on growing the business — that this very moment is about changing the image of Uber and crafting what that brand story is,” Saint John said. “That hasn’t been done yet.”
As one of only a very few women of color in executive positions at a major music or tech company, St John was also respected for her work a mentor and her careful curation of her personal brand in interviews and on social media, including Twitter and Instagram.