In Uber news, Expedia chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi confirmed Tuesday (Aug. 29) he will become the new chief executive of ridesharing company Uber Technologies.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Khosrowshahi said while the contract is not finalized as of yet, he has accepted the offer to head the embattled company. The WSJ noted the board at Uber unanimously voted to name him the new CEO, choosing the Expedia executive over GE’s chairman Jeff Immelt and Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. Whitman had been seen as a front runner for the job as of late last weekend.
During the WSJ interview, Khosrowshahi implied Uber founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick will play a role in the company. Although he wouldn’t say how, Khosrowshahi noted his relationship with Uber’s founder is “budding” and there is “mutual respect” between them.
The board of the ridesharing company has been searching for a new CEO since Travis Kalanick, Uber co-founder, was pushed out amid a scandal in June. Khosrowshahi has lead Expedia since 2005.
Expedia is smaller than the privately-held Uber, with a market capitalization of approximately $23 billion compared with Uber’s private valuation of nearly $70 billion. Khosrowshahi’s family emigrated to the United States from Iran during the country's revolution in the late 1970s. Expedia and Amazon were the two technology companies to lead the charge against the Muslim travel ban earlier this year.
“We sure didn’t feel like refugees, but in hindsight, I guess we were,” Khosrowshahi said of his upbringing in an interview with the New York Times. “My father and mother left everything behind to come here — to be safe and give their boys a chance to rebuild a life.”
The search for a new CEO of the embattled ride-hailing company comes at a time when Uber is also fighting with one of its shareholders, Benchmark Capital. Benchmark is embroiled in a board battle with Kalanick, filing a lawsuit to eliminate three board seats which were added under the leadership of the former CEO. In addition, Benchmark released an open letter last week to Uber employees, saying Kalanick had undermined the CEO search and was seeking to “create a power vacuum in which [he] could return.”