Uber Picks Expedia CEO to Lead Company Out of Crisis

Updated on
  • Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to take over as chief executive
  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Immelt were finalists for the job

Uber Said to Appoint Expedia's Khosrowshahi as CEO

Uber Technologies Inc. will appoint Expedia Inc.’s Dara Khosrowshahi as chief executive officer of the global ride-hailing leviathan, two people familiar with the matter said. He’ll succeed co-founder Travis Kalanick, who grew Uber into a $20 billion annual booking business last year before scandals forced him out.

A spokeswoman for Uber directors said they’ve chosen a CEO but declined to name the person, saying the board would inform employees first. Expedia didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Khosrowshahi will face a number of hurdles as Uber -- which has raised more than $15 billion from private investors -- navigates its way toward a still-unscheduled initial public offering. The new top executive must grapple with the company’s persistent losses, a high-stakes trade secrets suit filed by Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, a tarnished brand and low morale among Uber’s more than 15,000 global employees.

Uber’s board met over the weekend for a last round of interviews with candidates and to discuss options, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations were private. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. CEO Meg Whitman gained support from some board members after presenting her vision for the company on Saturday, despite repeated public denials that she would take the job. General Electric Co. Chairman Jeffrey Immelt was another finalist but failed to win the board’s full backing. He withdrew his name Sunday morning in a Twitter post.

The board ultimately went with a dark horse. Khosrowshahi hadn’t been named publicly as a finalist during a CEO search that was plagued by leaks, boardroom infighting and a lawsuit involving two directors.

Khosrowshahi, 48, is an Iran-born American who graduated from Brown University with an engineering degree. He had a stint in investment banking at Allen & Co. before joining with billionaire Barry Diller at IAC during the dot-com boom. Khosrowshahi led an acquisition binge in online travel, expanding IAC’s Expedia with takeovers of Orbitz and HomeAway.

He’s also one of the technology industry’s most outspoken CEOs in his opposition to some of President Donald Trump’s policies. He spoke out against the immigration ban and mocked Trump on Twitter as repeatedly failing to “rise to the expectations of his office” after the president’s response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Uber’s long year of controversies began in January when Kalanick tried to justify his position on a Trump council before ultimately resigning that post after customers staged a boycott.

— With assistance by Gerrit De Vynck

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