Uber's new CEO: 'This company has to change'

by Susie Olson August 31, 2017, 1:29
Uber's new CEO: 'This company has to change'

Okerstrom will also join the company's board of directors, and Khosrowshahi will continue to be a member of Expedia's board.

Described as even-keeled and humble, he stands in stark contrast to Travis Kalanick, the Uber founder and chief executive driven by a belief in his own brilliance and a desire to win at all costs.

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

Uber's CEO role had been vacant since June and, following a lot of turmoil and internal drama, Khosrowshahi took the job as a bit of a surprise to many observers. He is also driven but in a different way.

"Dara came to America at nine years old when his family escaped Iran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution", Uber said in its message to employees.

He, however, remains on Uber's board.

Khosrowshahi was picked ahead of former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Meg Whitman, the chief executive of HP Enterprise following a two-month search.

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"He is going to have to be highly aggressive in disciplining the company to stay on message and, more importantly, to stick within whatever the codes of conduct are", the analyst said.

Uber board recently stated that "We're really fortunate to gain a leader with Dara's experience, talent and vision". Barry Diller, Expedia's chairman and senior executive, has voting control of the company. "I've been here at Expedia for so long that I've forgotten what life is like outside this place", wrote Khosrowshahi.

The ride-hailing company made the announcement late on Tuesday, confirming media reports, as well as comments he made to the press. The board formally introduced the new CEO in an email to the company on Tuesday. Should he accept the job, his first new scandal is the company's alleged bribery practices in other countries.

The US government earlier this year was reported to have launched an investigation into Uber for the use of secret software that enabled the company to operate in areas where it was banned or restricted.

But in a legal filing, Kalanick claimed that Benchmark "began secretly planning an effort to oust him" and "executed its plan at the most shameful of times" following the death of his mother in a May accident. She left as a result of this acquisition, receiving a $186 million payout in the process, and now is reportedly looking for her next role at a company as the CEO.

Kalanick issued a statement saying, "Casting a vote for the new chief executive was a big moment for me, and I couldn't be happier to pass the torch to such an inspiring leader".

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