Uber’s board of directors reportedly picked Dara Khosrowshahi as the company’s new CEO, ending months of speculation over who will lead the beleaguered ride-hailing giant. Khosrowshahi comes from travel site Expedia, where he served as CEO since 2005. He hasn’t officially been offered the role by Uber as of Sunday night but is expected to accept early this week, according to Recode.
Uber reportedly voted for Khosrowshahi ahead of former General Electric chief Jeffrey Immelt and HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, two other high-profile candidates pegged for the position. While their involvement with Uber over the past few weeks is well documented, Khosrowshashi was unknown until now.
It was previously reported that Immelt withdrew his candidacy on Sunday when it became clear he didn’t have enough support. Sources tell Recode that Whitman, who many considered the leading candidate, would not be given the position because of her demand to decrease the role of ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Whitman previously tweeted that she had no intention to lead Uber, but reportedly presented to the company on Saturday, according to the New York Times. By rejecting Whitman, Uber decided against a female CEO who could have improved the company’s “frat bro” image after a devastating sexual harassment investigation.
Khosrowshahi took the reins at Expedia when it spun out of InterActiveCrop (IAC). He served many successful years, increasing the company’s revenue from $2.1 billion in 2005 to $8.7 billion in 2016. He is also credited for expanding Expedia into global markets through its online travel booking sites Hotels.com and Hotwire. In 2015, Khosrowshahi was the highest paid CEO in America, bringing in nearly $95 million with stock incentives.
But Uber, valued at nearly $90 billion, will be an entirely different beast to handle. The privately-owned company is coming off months of crippling controversy as its reputation keeps hitting new lows. It is also recovering from a mass exodus of employees. The company needs a new CFO, COO, CMO, and president.
An Iranian immigrant, Khosrowshahi was among the first leaders to denounce Donald Trump’s travel ban, contributing declarations to a lawsuit alongside Amazon. He has been critical of the president in 2017, once saying in a conference call, “Hopefully we will all be alive to see the end of next year.”
I keep waiting for the moment when our Prez will rise to the expectations of his office and he fails, repeatedly. https://t.co/WlxTkRfC71
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) August 16, 2017
Selecting a new CEO after Kalanick stepped down in June has been a messy process, and Khosrowshashi will be tasked with picking up the pieces. The shock pick is reportedly considered a “truce” by the board, which is dealing with an ugly fight between Kalanick and early Uber investor Benchmark.
Benchmark wants Kalanick off the board of directors and sued him for fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. They allege Kalanick used “material misstatements and fraudulent concealment” to stack the board with allies in 2016. The former CEO is said to have muddied the CEO election processes by attempting his own comeback.
“Kalanick’s overarching objective is to pack Uber’s Board with loyal allies in an effort to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as CEO—all to the detriment of Uber’s stockholders, employees, driver-partners, and customers,” Benchmark said in the complaint.
Uber is expected to officially announce its pick for CEO sometime this week.