Uber is going to have a new CEO and it’s neither former GE chief Jeffrey Immelt nor HP’s Meg Whitman. It’s going to travel company Expedia’s leader, Dara Khosrowshahi. Even though the announcement is not official yet, it’s already widely reported in US media that Khosrowshahi emerged as the leading candidate over the weekend at Uber’s board meeting.
Now it’s important to say Jeffrey Immelt withdrew on Sunday and asked not to be considered for the job probably because he didn’t have enough support from board members. Meg Whitman according to reports was the favourite but disagreements with board members over terms led to the decision to give the job to the third candidate Dara Khosrowshahi.
When announced he will be the substantive leader since Travis Kalanick left on June 20. Dara Khosrowshahi has been CEO of the $23b Expedia since 2005 and is seen as the right person for the job considering his background which is close to what Uber does. Uber is a ride hailing service which users can simply use by entering a destination into an app and then connecting them with drivers in their area. This digital space is where Expedia also operates because it allows users choose destination and will then be connected with flights and hotels around the world. This experience is what the Uber board thinks Dara Khosrowshahi will bring on board.
This appointment brings to end speculations about who will or not be Uber’s CEO but the real challenge lies ahead for the new CEO. The $70b company is plagued with challenges from self-inflicted to competition and with Travis Kalanick on the board of the company, the new CEO may be facing a new kind of challenge. Mr. Kalanick has a pretty solid structure within the organisation which he might need to combat. It’s kind of like the Steve Jobs-Tim Cook thing at Apple whereby many believed he lived in the former CEO’s shadows but again time will tell and in the Tim Cook case, it looks like he emerged from the shadows with new product launches especially with the significant emphasis on Apple Services like the App Store, Music, Apple TV and Apple Pay among others.
Mr. Khosrowshahi might have this challenge but he also has the experience which is key. While we await an official response, in the meantime it looks like Uber has a new CEO.