The next Uber CEO

The next Uber CEO
Uber has made an offer to Dara Khosrowshahi to become the company’s next Chief Executive Officer. Khosrowshahi is currently the CEO of Expedia, a travel company.

Uber has made an offer to Dara Khosrowshahi to become the company’s next Chief Executive Officer.

Khosrowshahi is currently the CEO of Expedia, a travel company.

Background

Travis Kalanick is one of the co-founders of the ride-sharing technological company, Uber. Started in 2009, it currently has operations in 633 cities across the world. Kalanick became the CEO in 2011 and held that position till 2017.

Considered to be one of the most successful companies in the world, Kalanick was forced to step down in June 2017 after an internal revolt by five of Uber’s largest investors. He remains on the company’s board.

After he resigned from the position, Kalanick said, “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.”

Kalanick’s fall from grace was jumpstarted by a series of controversies that have plagued Uber especially in 2017. This includes claims by former employees about the working conditions within the company. A blog by a former employee Susan Fowler about the sexual harassment rampant at Uber went viral. This led to Uber firing more than 20 members of its staff and taking action against others following a review of more than 200 HR complaints that included harassment and bullying. The company has been repeatedly accused of harboring a “frat boy” culture within its walls.

Analysis

The decision to offer the role of CEO to Khosrowshahi was made late on August 27th, 2017. A number of leaders in the tech world had been considered for the job. According to media reports, the Board seriously considered Hewlett Packard boss Meg Whitman and General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt. Immelt pulled himself out the race shortly before the job was offered to Khosrowshahi. The GE chairman took to Twitter to note, “I have decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber. I have immense respect for the company & founders - Travis, Garrett and Ryan.”

Whitman was touted as the most likely to get the position after Immelt withdrew. However, Whitman has maintained that she was not interested in the job. Currently, Khosrowshahi has not yet accepted the Board’s offer and it remains to be seen if he is planning on taking it up. He has served as the CEO of Expedia since 2005. Under his leadership, the travel company has expanded its operations to over 60 countries through multiple brands.

Assessment

Our assessment is that Khosrowshahi, who was born in Iran and since emigrated to the US following the 1979 Iranian Revolution has had a fairly successful outing in the US.  However, we feel that managing Uber will be a challenge. He had taken over the reins of Expedia in 2005 when the company and the industry was in the growth phase. This is not the case for Uber as it faces multiple controversies and has to navigate legal battles. It will be a hard trek ahead for the Iranian American businessman. 

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