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Postmates Parts Ways With COO After Just Seven Months

Postmates' No. 1 exec wasn't quite ready for a No. 2 after all.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Postmates’ No. 1 exec wasn’t quite ready for a No. 2 after all.

The delivery startup, which ferries food and other goods from local stores to customers’ doors within hours, has parted ways with its COO, Peter Hazlehurst, just seven months after he was hired, Re/code has learned. Hazlehurst’s responsibilities included overseeing the company’s customer service team as well as the network of contract workers in more than a dozen cities who deliver the goods that people order through the company’s mobile apps.

In a telephone interview, Hazlehurst confirmed his exit and said it was a result of CEO Bastian Lehmann’s realization that he wasn’t yet ready to give up full control of the company’s day-to-day operations.

“The business is doing great and I’m very proud of being part of that,” Hazlehurst said. “But I also want to have a role where I have full control and autonomy to drive things, and Bastian was not quite ready for that — and that’s cool.”

Postmates spokeswoman April Conyers confirmed as much, saying, “He did great work here and really got our operations team in a good place, but it just wasn’t the right time for him.”

The departure comes at an awkward moment for Postmates, which just announced its biggest partnership ever, one that will see it serve as Starbucks’ delivery partner in Seattle and, if things go as planned, beyond. The 195-person company is also facing strong competition from food-focused delivery companies such as DoorDash as well as big companies such as Amazon, which is quickly expanding its new Prime Now one-hour delivery service.

Still, in startup land, it’s not uncommon for CEOs to second-guess how much control they are willing to relinquish as their companies grow. Just last month, for example, Snapchat’s well-regarded COO Emily White left the popular messaging service after “the realization by co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel that he wants to be a more hands-on and operational CEO,” Kara Swisher reported.

Hazlehurst said he is currently mentoring some startup execs and is considering starting his own company with people he worked with at Google and Yodlee.

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