Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] chose Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive of travel company Expedia Inc, as its chief executive on Sunday, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, handing him the challenge of leading the ride-services company out of a nearly year-long crisis.
Khosrowshahi, 48, would take on the daunting task of mending Uber’s image, repairing frayed relations among investors, rebuilding employee morale and creating a profitable business after seven years of losses.
In Khosrowshahi, Uber’s board has picked an executive with a track record of driving growth while also delivering profits – precisely what the unprofitable Uber needs to satisfy investors. He has also proven capable of making Expedia the leader in another industry full of change and competition — online travel.
But he would also have to contend with the legacy of Travis Kalanick, Uber’s pugnacious co-founder, who was ousted as CEO in June after shareholders representing about 40 percent of the company’s voting power signed a letter asking him to step down amid growing concern over his behavior and the behavior of senior managers under him.
The Uber board of directors has been meeting daily and deliberated on its pick for CEO throughout the weekend. A spokeswoman said on Sunday that the board had voted but was declining to disclose its choice publicly until after informing employees.
An Uber spokesman and an Expedia spokeswoman declined to comment. Khosrowshahi did not immediately respond to requests for comment through email and on Twitter.
Khosrowshahi, who has run Expedia for 12 years, was not known to the public to be among the top candidates for the job.
He beat out Jeff Immelt, chairman of General Electric Co and one of the finalists for the job, who said earlier on Sunday he was no longer in the running. Meg Whitman, chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, had also been a leading candidate, according to sources close to the process. Whitman last month denied having any interest in the job.
Unlike Immelt and Whitman, Khosrowshahi is not a fixture in the celebrity executive community. And since Expedia is based in Bellevue, Washington, he is a Silicon Valley outsider, offering a contrast to the “tech bro” culture Kalanick established at Uber.