The Strategist

Uber to choose Expedia's Dara Khosrowshahi as a new head

08/28/2017 - 14:36

According to Recode and The New York Times, which are referring to their own sources in Uber, last weekend the board of directors of the mobile taxi service decided on a candidate for the post of head of the company. They should become Dara Khosrowshahi, who now heads Expedia travel agency.

Núcleo Editorial via flickr
Núcleo Editorial via flickr
Last weekend, the situation that has been going on for almost two months with the search for a new CEO for Uber, evolved into a new stage. Jeff Immelt of General Electric, considered the favorite officially refused to participate in the struggle for the post of the new CEO, expressing in Twitter "deep respect" to the founders of Uber. Apart from Mr. Immelt, there are two more candidates whose names were not disclosed. After that, information appeared that these two candidates are the head of Expedia online travel agency Dara Khosrowshahi and the head of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Meg Whitman. According to media reports, Ms. Whitman declined the offer, disagreeing about continued participation of former CEO Travis Kalanik in the company’s management and his litigation with shareholders. Thus, Uber’s board chose Expedia’s CEO. The parties has not officially commented on the media reports.

If Mr. Khosrowshahi also refuses, the online taxi service will still find a new CEO who, unlike GE's top manager, has more experience working on the Internet market. In addition to online booking of hotels, Expedia allows buying air tickets and book a taxi in the host country. Mr. Khosrowshahi has been heading Expedia since 2005. During this time, the annual volume of bookings for Expedia has grown from $ 15 billion to $ 72 billion. "This is exactly the type of leader Uber needs," Henry Harteveldt, a travel and tourism industry analyst at Atmosphere Research, told the LA Times. "He is mature enough to take up issues of the culture of work in Uber, and at the same time he is not clumsy and does not bear the burden of the legacy of a traditional technology company."

In late July, Uber’s Travis Kalanik resigned as CEO of the company. This was preceded by several months of continuous scandals, because of which Uber’s investors demanded that Mr. Kalanik departed from the company's management.

Five of Uber's largest shareholders insisted on Mr. Travis leaving, including Benchmark venture company. Investors said that the company needs to change the leadership because of numerous scandals around the company.

Scandals with several cases of rape or harassment of passengers by taxi drivers caused a tangible blow to Uber’s reputation. In addition, media reported about more than 200 cases of breach of corporate ethics by the company's employees, including Travis Kalanik himself. So, at the beginning of the year, one of Uber’s employees Susan Fowler stated that her boss was trying to persuade her to have sex: right in the chat room he told her that he was in free relationships and was looking for a partner for sex without obligations. This, in turn, evoked a three-year-old history with adventures of Uber managers in a karaoke bar with escort services during the company's trip to South Korea. Following the investigation of all these cases, the company fired more than 20 employees.

Another big scandal was Waymo’s claim against Uber. The company accused Uber of using its technology to develop a laser radar (lidar) to create an unmanned vehicle. According to Waymo, Anthony Levandowski secretly downloaded confidential documents describing this technology before the dismissal from Google. Then, he came to work in Uber. Having considered circumstances of the case, the San Francisco court ordered the mobile service to return all documents on lidar technology to Waymo, and to remove Mr. Levandowski from working on unmanned vehicles.

The big noise was caused also by the information that Uber underpaid to the New York taxi drivers for two and a half years. The shortfall is tens of millions of dollars.


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