Expedia boss 'picked as Uber's new CEO'

Iran-born American Dara Khosrowshahi railed against Mr Donald Trump's immigration ban and mocked the President on Twitter after his response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Uber's new top executive must grapple with persistent losses, a hig
Uber's new top executive must grapple with persistent losses, a high-stakes trade secrets suit, a tarnished brand and low employee morale.PHOTOS: REUTERS
Iran-born American Dara Khosrowshahi railed against Mr Donald Trump's immigration ban and mocked the President on Twitter after his response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Uber's new top executive must grapple with persistent losses, a hig
Iran-born American Dara Khosrowshahi railed against Mr Donald Trump's immigration ban and mocked the President on Twitter after his response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. PHOTOS: REUTERS

Veteran dealmaker and Trump critic not named publicly as finalist in search beset by leaks, boardroom infighting

SAN FRANCISCO • Uber Technologies will appoint Expedia's Dara Khosrowshahi to run the global ride-hailing leviathan, two people familiar with the matter said.

He will succeed co-founder Travis Kalanick, who led the firm to US$20 billion (S$27 billion) in annual bookings before scandals forced him out.

In hiring Expedia's chief executive officer, Uber will land a seasoned dealmaker and an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

While a spokesman for Uber directors confirmed they have chosen a CEO, she declined to name the person, saying the board would inform employees first.

Mr Khosrowshahi will face a number of hurdles as Uber, which has raised more than US$15 billion from private investors, navigates its way towards a still unscheduled initial public offering.

The new top executive must grapple with the company's persistent losses, a high-stakes trade secrets suit filed by Alphabet's Waymo, a tarnished brand and low morale among Uber's more than 15,000 global employees.

Uber's board met over the weekend for a last round of interviews with candidates and to discuss options, said people familiar with the matter. Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt were under consideration for the job.

Mr Khosrowshahi had not been named publicly as a finalist during a CEO search plagued by leaks, boardroom infighting and a lawsuit involving two directors. He has accepted the position, people familiar with the discussions said.

The 48-year-old is an Iran-born American who graduated from Brown University with an engineering degree. He had a stint in investment banking at Allen & Co before joining with billionaire Barry Diller at IAC during the dot.com boom.

He is also one of the technology industry's most outspoken CEOs in opposition to some of Mr Trump's policies. He railed against the immigration ban and mocked Mr Trump on Twitter as repeatedly failing to "rise to the expectations of his office" after the President's response to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mr Khosrowshahi was effective at marrying disparate businesses across Expedia, many brought together through acquisitions, said Mr Woody Marshall, an investor in the online travel industry who has known Mr Khosrowshahi since they were young.

Mr Marshall, a general partner at venture capital firm TCV, which is not an Uber investor, said: "He's the real deal. He's not bigger than life in terms of his public appearance or public personality.

"He's bigger than life in terms of culture and values."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'Expedia boss 'picked as Uber's new CEO''. Print Edition | Subscribe