Uber Chooses Expedia Boss Dara Khosrowshahi As New CEO
Will the selection bring increased stability to Uber?
Uber chose Dara Khosrowshahi, current head of online travel company Expedia, as its new CEO Sunday, reports The New York Times. Khosrowshahi fills the seat vacated by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who resigned in June.
Khosrowshahi was chosen over two other finalists during a weekend of Uber board meetings. One finalist was Jeffrey R. Immelt, former head of General Electric, who reportedly did not garner enough support and withdrew Sunday.
The other finalist was Hewlett-Packard boss Meg Whitman, who was reportedly favored by many Uber board members and executives. But the board and Whitman could not agree on certain terms, including what rule Kalanick (who retains a seat on Uber's board) would play in future management. The ongoing legal battle between Kalanick and Uber investor Benchmark was also discussed.
Choosing Khosrowshahi as CEO could mark the beginning of a return to stability for Uber. Benchmark filed its lawsuit against Kalanick in part because the investment firm feared Kalanick would try to get himself back in the CEO chair. The fight is the latest in a series of scandals that have plagued Uber this year, including accusations of sexual harassment, and a legal dispute with Waymo over self-driving car tech.
Khosrowshahi has run Expedia since 2005, giving him experience with the digital economy. But he has no direct experience with transportation, and must unite a divided workforce. While many have criticized Kalanick's management of Uber, many employees remain loyal to the former CEO.
Khosrowshahi, whose family emigrated to the United States from Iran because of the revolution in that country in the late 1970s, has actively opposed President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Expedia contributed early declarations to a lawsuit filed by Washington state's attorney general opposing the travel ban. Kalanick's response to the travel ban was viewed as, at best, inadequate by many, prompting the #DeleteUber campaign earlier this year.
In February, Khosrowshahi took another shot at Trump, ending a company earnings call by saying, "Hopefully we will all be alive to see the end of next year." Hopefully Khosrowshahi will be as unafraid of shaking things up at Uber as he is of calling out Trump.