Uber Technologies may have been mulling General Electric Chairman Jeff Immelt as its new CEO, but it seems Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi will be Uber’s new CEO instead.
According to a news report in Reuters, citing Jeff Immelt’s Twitter feed, the GE chairman said: “I have decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber,” adding that he had “immense respect for the company & founders.”
The board of the ridesharing company has been on the search for a new Uber CEO since Travis Kalanick, the co-founder, was pushed out amid a scandal in June. Sources close to the situation told Reuters that Immelt was one of three finalists among whom the board was deciding. Another candidate who had been in the running for the job was Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who has already said she has no interest in the job and plans to remain at her current position.
The Wall Street Journal reported Immelt didn’t have enough votes to win the job and turned to Twitter in a face-saving move.
Mr. Khosrowshahi emerged as the leading candidate, said those with inside knowledge of yesterday’ vote — who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential.
Khosrowshahi has lead Expedia since 2005 — though Expedia is smaller than the privately held Uber, with a market capitalization of around $23 billion, compared with Uber’s private valuation of nearly $70 billion.
Khosrowshahi’s family emigrated to the United States from Iran because of the revolution in that country 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 — my father and mother left everything behind to come here — to be safe and give their boys a chance to re-build a life,” he wrote.
The search for a new CEO to lead the embattled ride-hailing company comes at a time when Uber is 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 when he was 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 Travis could return.”