Stefania Mallett, co-founder and CEO of ezCater, is stepping down and turning over the top spot to Ashwin Raj, an experienced e-commerce leader and rideshare vet who was previously executive vice president, head of rideshare at Lyft and, before that, director of Amazon Pay in North America.
Mallett co-founded ezCater in 2007 and has scaled the company up to its current status as a leader in the food-for-work category with more than 100,000 restaurants on the platform and more than 850 employees nationwide. Mallett will continue to serve as a director on the Boston-based company’s board of directors. All of the changes go into effect on August 14.
In a LinkedIn post announcing the change, Raj said he was initially hesitant about the role, feeling that food was “not exactly my cup of tea,” but said that opinion shifted as he learned more about the segment and company mission.
“I am energized by the tremendous opportunity ahead for ezCater to expand and grow the platform and customer segments, and to make ezCater the go-to brand for food for work,” he wrote. “Stefania, Briscoe [Rodgers], and the talented team at ezCater have built an impressive company with strong foundations and established ezCater as a category leader. This is a strong company with a wonderful culture of transparency, going beyond helpful, moving fast, and having fun in the process.”
“Stefania helped pioneer the food for work category and built ezCater into its leadership position. On behalf of ezCater’s Board of Directors, I want to thank Stefania for her remarkable achievements, and I look forward to her continuing contributions as a Director,” said Chris Cuddy, chair of ezCater’s board of directors, in a press release. “I’m excited to welcome Ashwin as ezCater’s new CEO. He is an inspiring leader, who brings a deep understanding of high-growth marketplaces operating at scale and a successful history of focused execution, and I can’t wait to partner with him as he leads the company through its next stages.”
Mallett co-founded ezCater with Briscoe Rodgers as a technology solution to help business professionals find reliable catering for meetings all over the country.
In a recent interview with Food On Demand, Mallett said ezCater closed out 2021 with a $100-million investment as the company recovered from the pandemic, while adding that the company planned an eventual IPO in the wake of its $1.6-billion valuation.
From day one, the company said Mallett built a company grounded in respect, “going beyond helpful,” and transparency. The company has been repeatedly recognized as a best place to work by Fortune, Boston Globe, and others. Mallett also led ezCater through its successful recovery from the COVID pandemic. In March 2020, the company experienced an 85-percent drop in bookings, but it returned to its full pre-pandemic size in 2021, and then grew bookings 87 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.
“From the start—16 years ago—I’ve been building ezCater so that it could one day operate without me. I’m beyond proud of our successes, including that the company has outgrown me,” said Mallett. “Now’s the right time for both me and ezCater to enter new chapters. Ashwin is a strategic thinker and a long-term builder who shares our values, including our commitment to ‘going beyond helpful’ for our customers and partners. I’m confident he will lead ezCater through its next successes.”
The company added that Raj is passionate about leading teams and scaling businesses that are built on true customer value. He is experienced in leading growth, profitability, and innovation at high-growth and public companies. He led the rideshare business of Lyft from 2021 to 2023, most recently as the executive vice president, head of rideshare. In this role, he oversaw the company’s core multi-billion-dollar revenue business unit and all central tech functions, and achieved adjusted EBITDA profitability. He held various roles at Lyft from 2017 to 2021, including as vice president, payments and customer platforms, and played a key role in Lyft becoming a public company.
Before Lyft, Raj was the director of Amazon Pay in North America at Amazon.com and transformed Amazon Pay into a multi-billion-dollar business in less than two years. Prior to that, Raj held multiple leadership roles at Visa, specifically in core payments products, mobile payments and strategic partnerships.
“I am delighted and honored to lead ezCater and sincerely appreciate the trust that the ezCater Board and team have placed in me,” said Raj. “I am energized by the tremendous opportunity ahead for ezCater, as food is a critical component that increases workplace effectiveness, strengthens employee retention, and brings people together. Stefania, Briscoe, and the very talented team at ezCater have built an impressive company with a strong foundation, and my goal is to build on that by going even deeper in addressing the needs of our customers and catering partners. Together, we will make ezCater the go-to brand for food for work.”
In his LinkedIn post, Raj added that, “Leading ezCater is a significant responsibility that I do not take lightly and the commitment I make is that I will always give it everything I have and more. I am going to listen and learn from customers and catering partners and collaborate with ezCater team members to collectively lead the company into the next phase of its evolution.”