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Back to HQ? Thanks, I’d rather walk, says Lyft’s CISO

For those who don't mind three days per week in San Francisco, the salary range is $292,500 - $325,000...

Lyft CISO quits

The CISO of Lyft, a ride-hailing company, says he is looking for a new role after the company’s return-to-office requirements meant that he would have had to return to its San Francisco headquarters.

Nico Waisman, who is based in Florida, said on LinkedIn: “As you may have noticed from the public job post, I am actively seeking a successor for my role as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Lyft. In alignment with Lyft's return-to-office strategy, it has become necessary for the CISO position to be located at our headquarters in San Francisco.

"Given my decision not to relocate back to San Francisco, I will remain at Lyft until the end of the year to assist with the transition process.

The Lyft CISO added: “Following that, I plan to take a month or two off to recharge and then explore the next steps in my career journey.”

His decision comes after new Lyft CEO David Risher told employees in an all-hands meeting in April 2023 that they would be required to come back into the office at least three days a week, starting this autumn.

Lyft and Waisman are clearly handling the difference of opinion about the necessity to return to the office collegiately, with the Lyft CISO staying on – from Miami Beach, Florida – to help with the transition.

But the respected CISO’s decision is a sharp reminder that mandatory return-to-the-office rules are distinctly not for everyone; run the risk of losing companies vital talent; and that the battle lines over the virtues or otherwise of weekly attendance in a company office remain stark.

As Mark Mortensen recently noted in Harvard Business Review: “While conflicting perspectives on remote work are not new, the tension seems to be escalating. Consider, for example, the contingent of Amazon workers who staged a walkout to protest the company’s office policies, or Farmers Insurance employees’ threats to unionize or quit in response to the CEO reversing the company’s remote-work policy.

“Google recently began tracking employees’ in-office attendance, and stories of employees being terminated for failing to adhere to RTO policies continue to proliferate. Neither side holds all the power, and as the conversation becomes more and more polarized, it becomes more difficult to reach a mutually beneficial resolution,” he added.

Explaining the decision to make employees return to San Francisco, Lyft’s CEO Risher told the NYT earlier this year that “things just move faster when you’re face to face... There’s a real feeling of satisfaction that comes from working together at a whiteboard on a problem.”

There's also the sunk cost problem of real estate leases: McKinsey Global Institute estimates that post-pandemic changes in working patterns will wipe out $1.3 trillion of real estate value big cities globally by 2030.

For those who fancy applying to be the new Lyft CISO, the company is offering a healthy pay range of $292,500 - $325,000, with good benefits. Job spec is here. (British CISOs looking to double that salary, ask about work visas...) As for those looking for an accomplished remote CISO with a bit of backbone, Waisman's potentially available from early 2024.

See also: Shell appoints former CISO as new Group CIO