It’s official. Dara Khosrowshahi is the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc. The ride-hailing company made the announcement late Tuesday, confirming reports by Bloomberg and others, as well as comments he made to the press. The selection of Expedia Inc.’s outgoing CEO concludes a months-long search to replace Travis Kalanick.
Uber took the early part of the week to wrap up negotiations and paperwork, following a contentious yet ultimately unanimous board vote. Khosrowshahi was the dark-horse candidate, and his name didn’t appear in public while other high-profile candidates such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s Meg Whitman and General Electric Co. Chairman Jeffrey Immelt were known to be in the running for the job.
“Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future building world-class products, transforming cities, and adding value,” Uber said in a statement that had the names of Kalanick, co-founder Garrett Camp and other board members and executives.
Although Khosrowshahi, 48, called his new job “the opportunity of a lifetime” in an interview with Bloomberg, he’s facing a long list of challenges. The company is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a quarter. It’s staring down two Department of Justice investigations, one into the company’s Greyball software that obscured drivers from law enforcement officials and then a second, revealed Tuesday, into bribes paid to foreign officials. Benchmark, the company’s largest shareholder, is locked in a legal fight with Kalanick over the allocation of board seats. To top it off, many of the executive ranks sit empty; there’s no chief financial officer, no chief marketing officer and no general counsel.
Still, as far as CEO searches go, the selection of Khosrowshahi was a fairly prompt process. Fewer than 12 weeks passed from Kalanick’s June 20 resignation. Yet amid the headlines over the presumably secret search process, Uber employees were ready for it to be over, and official. The San Francisco-based company, which has been run by a 14-person executive committee, is ready for a single leader again.
With its $69 billion valuation, the company has effectively made an enormous promise to investors that it will be a once-in-a-generation technology company. There are signs that Uber, despite its many challenges, has a path to achieve its grand ambitions. Ride-hailing and the dream of self-driving cars have already begun to transform the transportation industry. Last year, Uber generated $20 billion in bookings (the total value of fares paid out to drivers) and that number is growing each quarter.
Here are some other comments and tweets by stakeholders:
Kalanick: “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.”
Arianna Huffington, board member: “Delighted to welcome @dkhos as @Uber’s new CEO”
Benchmark: “We’ve been admirers of the work and character of @dkhos for years, and are thrilled to have him leading @Uber 2.0”