Will new CEO choice be expedient enough to enable Uber to fly steady following a period of remarkable turbulence?
The CEO of online travel company Expedia, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been selected by the board of Uber to be its next CEO.
The proposed appointment follows a calamitous period at Uber, which saw its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, depart from the role after the company was pummelled by scandal after scandal in terms of its workplace culture.
Uber is one of the biggest tech start-ups to emerge from Silicon Valley in recent years and is one of its most high-profile so-called unicorns, with a valuation of circa $70bn.
An Uber Game of Thrones?
It is understood that the hunt for a new CEO was narrowed down to three finalists, with Hewlett Packard Enteprise CEO Meg Whitman and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the contenders to Khosrowshahi.
Whitman is believed to have withdrawn after failure to agree terms on which she would take over as CEO, including how much control Kalanick would have as a board member. Immelt withdrew from the race when it reportedly became apparent to him that he did not have sufficient support from the board.
Khosrowshahi’s selection was agreed by the Uber board over the weekend as a ‘truce’ choice, according to reports.
He will have his work cut out for him.
The first and most obvious priority – and the hardest to achieve – will be re-establishing Uber’s credibility after a litany of scandals.
It is a daunting task when you consider that, while Uber is a prominent Silicon Valley brand, Khosrowshahi is something of a Silicon Valley outsider, despite running one of the world’s best-known online travel brands.
He has been at the helm of Washington-based Expedia for the past 12 years, after coming to the US in 1978 with his parents following the Iranian revolution.
He sits on the board of The New York Times Company and, in 2015, was the highest-paid CEO in the US due to a $91m stock option grant.
Under his leadership, Expedia has more than doubled annual revenues since 2012 to almost $8.8bn, yielding profits in the range of $281.8m.