Uber has confirmed the appointment of Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO. Reports that the former Expedia boss had accepted the role surfaced earlier this week. Now, the ride-hailing giant has made it official, and will no doubt hope its new leader can bring stability to the company.
Khosrowshahi was raised in Tarrytown, New York, having fled Iran with his family on the eve of the Iranian revolution when he was nine. He trained as an engineer at Brown before eventually becoming Chief Financial Officer at IAC (InterActiveCorp). He took over Expedia in 2005 and became the highest-paid CEO in 2015 when the international travel aggregator awarded him a $94.6 million salary for signing a long-term agreement.
"Casting a vote for the next chief executive of Uber was a big moment for me and I couldn’t be happier pass the torch to such an inspiring leader," said Travis Kalanick, who stepped down as Uber CEO in June after investors demanded his resignation.
For a long time, it seemed as if the Uber job would go to Meg Whitman. The Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO last month denied she was in the running, but admits Uber approached her over the weekend.
(3/3) We have a lot of work still to do at HPE and I am not going anywhere. Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman.— Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) July 28, 2017
“They asked what it would take for me to change my mind,” she told the Financial Times. “I was not a contender for this job until the weekend — and I’m not even sure I was then.”
Repairing Uber's tarnished reputation will be a tough job for Khosrowshah. In the months before its CEO stepped down, it had to deal with with sexism claims and the fallout from the resulting investigations, Greyball, the Hell software, a lawsuit over alleged self-driving technology theft, the medical records scandal, and Kalanick’s argument with a driver and visit to a South Korean escort-karaoke bar with other Uber executives. Khosrowshah will also have to deal with the many legal cases the company faces.
In a letter to Expedia employees, Khosrowshah admitted that the Uber job won't be easy.
I have to tell you that I’m scared. I’ve been here at Expedia for so long that I’ve forgotten what life is outside of this place. But the times of greatest learning for me have been when I’ve been through big changes, or taken on new roles – you have to move out of your comfort zone and develop muscles that you didn’t know you had. I always tell people to look for a role where they, as an individual, can make a difference, at a company that is making a difference. I know I can look back at my work at Expedia and say mission accomplished. And I can look forward to Uber and know that I will make a difference, hopefully for the better.