New Uber CEO drives change and suggests IPO

FORMER CEO TRAVIS KALANICK
FORMER CEO TRAVIS KALANICKPHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE DARA KHOSROWSHAHI
NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE DARA KHOSROWSHAHIPHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN FRANCISCO • Uber Technologies' new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees the ride-services company would change its culture and may go public in 18 to 36 months.

Mr Khosrowshahi, who led travel-booking site Expedia for 12 years prior to joining Uber, made the remarks as he introduced himself to Uber's workforce on Wednesday during an all-staff meeting at its San Francisco headquarters.

His plans include rebuilding Uber's culture and growing market share as well as possibly conducting an initial public offering in 18 to 36 months, according to people who attended the meeting.

It is common for venture capital-backed companies to signal an initial public offering at a vague time in the future.

"This company has to change," Mr Khosrowshahi told employees, according to the Twitter feed of Uber's communications team. "What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level."

Mr Khosrowshahi said Uber needed to stabilise itself but also take what he called "big shots".

  • 12

    Number of years Mr Khosrowshahi led travel-booking site Expedia, prior to joining Uber.

    18-36

    Number of months Mr Khosrowshahi told employees the company may take to go public.

The appointment of Mr Khosrowshahi, who described himself as "a fighter", comes as Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises that culminated in the ouster of former CEO Travis Kalanick in June.

It is also a key step towards filling a gaping hole in its top management that at the moment has no chief financial officer, head of engineering or general counsel.

In his first meeting with Uber employees, Mr Khosrowshahi emphasised recruiting new talent - particularly a chief financial officer - as well as a chairman to help him run the board, according to tweets from Uber.

Mr Kalanick, who attended Wednesday's staff meeting, welcomed his replacement 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," Mr Kalanick said.

MAKING THE STEP UP

This company has to change. What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level.

UBER TECHNOLOGIES' NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE DARA KHOSROWSHAHI, on his plans for the ride-sharing firm.


HANDING OVER

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.

FORMER CEO TRAVIS KALANICK

Mr Khosrowshahi inherits a dysfunctional board that has been divided by a lawsuit filed by investor Benchmark Capital against Mr Kalanick.

The lawsuit, which seeks to force Mr Kalanick off the board and rescind his ability to fill two board seats, has caused shareholder infighting and complicated the CEO search.

The board had already selected Mr Khosrowshahi as Uber's next CEO in a vote on Sunday. But the firm and its board did not speak publicly on the decision until Tuesday evening, as contract negotiations were ongoing.

Mr Khosrowshahi has been replaced at Expedia by Mr Mark Okerstrom, the company's chief financial officer for the last six years. Mr Khosrowshahi will remain on the Expedia board.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline 'New Uber CEO drives change and suggests IPO'. Print Edition | Subscribe