Former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is now officially Uber's new CEO. The news was announced this evening in a letter to Uber employees sent by the company’s board of directors, and it marks the end of a search that lasted more than two months. Earlier today he called the job the “opportunity of a lifetime” in an interview with Bloomberg.
That search began in June when former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned under pressure from some of the company’s biggest investors. His demise was truly the result of a string of incidents — some related, some not — that date back to the beginning of 2017, though Uber has experienced many lows over the years to contrast the highs Kalanick brought the company to.
“This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life,” Khosrowshahi wrote in a separate memo to Expedia staff that was obtained by Recode. “I’ve had the privilege to run Expedia for 12+ years now, and most of you who have been on this journey with me know it has not been easy going.”
“I have to tell you I am scared. I’ve been here at Expedia for so long that I’ve forgotten what life is like outside this place,” he added.
Uber’s board of directors picked Khosrowshahi to be the company’s new CEO this past weekend after days of reported presentations and debates. But he came seemingly out of nowhere — a “third candidate” beyond GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt and HPE CEO Meg Whitman had been reported, but never named.
On Sunday, Immelt announced on Twitter that he was pulling himself out of the running. Whitman, who herself had sworn on Twitter in July that “Uber’s CEO will not be Meg Whitman,” inserted herself back into the running over the weekend and even tried to use Immelt’s backing out as leverage to reduce Kalanick’s role on the board, according to the New York Times. After that, Khosrowshahi became the “truce candidate.”
Khosrowshahi steps into the role amidst myriad legal battles, executive vacancies, and Uber’s now-famous tumultuous workplace culture. He’ll be answering his new employees’ questions at an all-hands meeting tomorrow.
As for Kalanick, it appears he’s keeping that spot on the board, and his voting power as well. “I am excited to welcome Dara Khosrowshahi as Uber’s next CEO,” Kalanick wrote in a statement. “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.”