Beleaguered ride-sharing unicorn Uber has not made it official yet, but the company reportedly has named Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to take up the reins as Uber’s next chief executive officer. Former General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Immelt was an early favorite, but he officially withdrew on Sunday.
Khosrowshahi also bested Hewlett Packard Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: HPE) CEO Meg Whitman, who was reportedly favored by Benchmark Capital, the private equity firm that has filed a lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick and Uber for fraud and breach of contract. Immelt had Kalanick’s support, but that may have been one reason the offer went to Khosrowshahi.
By some accounts the search process was nearly as much a debacle as all the other recent trials that Uber has to contend with.
Khosrowshahi was the “truce” choice, according to Recode, acceptable to both sides in the board’s dysfunctional selection process.
The soon-to-be-announced new CEO has been the chief executive at Expedia since 2005, and he has grown that company into an international travel giant. An Iranian American, Khosrowshahi also has been an outspoken critic of President Trump’s travel ban on Muslim Americans.
Under Khosrowshahi, Expedia acquired established consumer brands like Travelocity and Orbitz, and even took on Airbnb with the acquisition of home rental site HomeAway.
Khosrowshahi will earn his salary at Uber, whatever it is. In addition to the dust-up between Kalanick and Benchmark, there’s plummeting morale, a corporate culture that has spawned multiple reports of discrimination and sexual harassment, and competitive challenges on several fronts.
He faces a major challenge from ride-sharing firm Lyft and other non-U.S.-based firms like China’s Didi Chuxing. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing last year. The Chinese firm has attracted about $15.75 billion in venture funding, according to Crunchbase.
We’re still waiting for an official announcement, but the protocol is that Expedia first needs to announce Khosrowshahi’s departure before his Uber appointment can be revealed. Stay tuned.