Uber hires former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi as new CEO
Dara Khosrowshahi has officially accepted the position of CEO at Uber, following the company board’s selection over the weekend.
Khosrowshahi was chosen over HP CEO Meg Whitman and former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, both of whom were considered by directors at the ridesharing service – including former CEO Travis Kalanick who left his position following months of controversy that included leaked memos, video of Kalanick shouting at an Uber driver, and repeated accusations of endemic sexual harassment at the company.
In a statement, Kalanick said he was “excited to welcome” Khosrowshahi as Uber’s next CEO: “With a deep passion for team building, Dara grew Expedia into one of the world’s most successful travel and technology platforms. Casting a vote for the next chief executive of Uber was a big moment for me and I couldn’t be happier to pass the torch to such an inspiring leader.”
Migrating to America when he was nine, Khosrowshahi,’s family fled Iran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution. From there he grew up in New York, trained as an engineer, and worked for years at US media company IAC before becoming CEO of Expedia in 2005. He’s now leaving for Uber, having turned his former company into one of the world’s biggest travel agencies.
“We’re really fortunate to gain a leader with Dara’s experience, talent and vision,” a statement from Uber reads. “The Board and the Executive Leadership Team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future building world-class products, transforming cities, and adding value to the lives of drivers and riders around the world while continuously improving our culture and making Uber the best place to work.”
Khosrowshahi will have a lot of work on his plate when he starts on Wednesday. The company’s reputation has taken a serious knock over the past few months, and its business model is facing wider legislative shifts around the treatment of “gig-economy” workers. The Taylor review in the UK, for example, has called for a new category of “dependent contractors” to be made as a means to ensure holiday and sick pay.
An internal memo sent to Uber employees says Khosrowshahi’s appointment will go towards “improving our culture and making Uber the best place to work”. The new CEO will certainly have to repair Uber’s culture in the short term, but it’s the mention of “transforming cities” in Uber’s statement that hints at the company’s long-term ambitions – and they want Khosrowshahi with his high-profile global experience at the helm.