Technology

Uber Picks Expedia’s Chief As Its New CEO

Uber has finally found someone to replace its controversial CEO Travis Kalanick. Uber’s board has picked Dara Khosrowshahi, who has been Expedia’s CEO since 2005, to be its new CEO, according to Recode. It took the company two months to finalize the position after Kalanick quit as Uber’s CEO in June. Kalanick is still a member of Uber’s board.

Dara Khosrowshahi Uber
j_nnesk_sser / Pixabay

Dara Khosrowshahi wasn’t the first choice

According to The New York Times, Dara Khosrowshahi emerged as the top contender for the post, defeating two other finalists after a weekend of Uber board meetings. Jeffrey R. Immelt, the former chief of General Electric, was one of the finalists, but he withdrew on Sunday as he did have enough support, sources told the Times.

Meg Whitman, chief of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, appeared to be the preferred candidate, but sources told the newspaper that Ms. Whitman and the board failed to agree on terms. Thus, the board decided to go with the third candidate.

Under Khosrowshahi, Expedia touched great heights, growing from just $15 billion in bookings to $72 billion just last year. For his extraordinary talent, he is paid an exceptionally high salary as well, notes The Verge. Khosrowshahi has rich experience in the travel industry, and hence, knows a lot about the transportation industry. Expedia helps travelers with their transportation needs by working in sync with car rental and other transportation companies.

Recode notes that Uber has not made any official announcement regarding his position, and neither has Khosrowshahi accepted the job offer yet. Hence, details regarding him officially starting work are still unclear.

Challenges ahead for new Uber CEO

The last year or so has not been good for the ride-hailing service, with one controversy after another springing up to trouble it,  including major ones like accusations of sexual assault in the workplace and a patent dispute with Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo. Though Uber’s business has been unaffected by all this, Kalanick’s style of management came under scrutiny.

Now, Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to fix the problems and help the company achieve its dreams. As Uber’s CEO, Khosrowshahi’s task list will be to repair the company’s internal culture, deal with the legal battles and reduce financial losses. For the second quarter, the company’s revenue was reported to be $1.75 billion, up 17% from the last quarter. Though the company was able to cut its losses, it still has a long way to go.

One thing is for sure that it won’t be easy for the new CEO, as even the board is facing internal strife, which has grown intense due to the rivalry between Kalanick and Benchmark, a venture capital firm that’s a major investor in Uber. Both Kalanick and Benchmark had their own candidate to become the next CEO. Benchmark even sued Kalanick to force him to quit the board. Benchmark claims that Kalanick is trying to “acquire the power to pack the Board to facilitate his desired re-appointment as Uber’s CEO.”

As of now, there have been no comments from Uber’s board or Expedia about the reported development.