Uber Hires Former Expedia CEO

Terry Joseph
August 30, 2017

But the startup's aggressive approach left a trail of self-inflicted wounds along the way. However, Khosrowshahi will still have big problems to deal with, including a high-stakes trade secrets lawsuit filed by Alphabet's self-driving vehicle business Waymo, low morale among the company's 15,000 global employees, a badly tarnished brand image and persistent losses despite rising revenues.

A new chief executive is just the start for Uber.

But among his first jobs at Uber will be filling a slew of executive vacancies, including chief financial officer and chief operation officer. If she were hired, she would want to run the company without Kalanick's interference.

There were a number of frontrunners in the race to the top job at Uber, including GE chairman Jeff Immelt. Now they're without a manager. But there are nonetheless concerns that Khosrowshahi's political statements could be a liability for Uber.

Another hurdle is the former CEO. More than 1,400 employees signed a petition showing their support for Kalanick after his resignation.

Holder's public recommendations were approved by the board. "Expedia's loss is Uber's gain", he wrote. Lyft has been gaining US market share while Uber's brand has taken a major hit. He oversaw a publicly traded business making him a good fit to take Uber public.

Meanwhile, Uber drivers have earned $50 million in tips since a gratuity option was added to the ride-sharing application in June. TechCrunch reported that after dumping Kalanick, the valuation for Uber's private shares plunged from $68 billion to $50 billion. The outcome of that case could thwart Uber's autonomous vehicle ambitions. A trial in the trade-secrets lawsuit, filed by Alphabet Inc's self-driving auto unit, Waymo, is set for October.

Khosrowshahi grew up in NY with his mother and two brothers after his father was detained for six years by authorities in Iran when he went in search of his own father. While the business is growing, the company has been trying to reform its workplace culture following accusations of sexual harassment.

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Justice Department officials and other regulators are also investigating Uber's practice of "greyballing" government officials.

Uber now operates in hundreds of cities and more than 80 countries.

Expedia had already told staff it expected him to accept the offer from the ride-hailing firm.

As Brad Gerstner, founder and CEO of investment firm Altimeter Capital, which owns shares of both Expedia and Uber, aptly puts it, "He's got an extraordinarily deep network", and Priceline veteran Robert Mylod noted that he is "a great strategic thinker and a no-nonsense leader".

That large potential secondary round would give Uber an even longer runway until it needs to go public.

Kalanick is close to Diller, sources said. Uber also is losing millions every quarter as it continues to expand and invest in self-driving cars. "Neither of them seemed like logical choices", Ramsey said.

The Benchmark lawsuit filed in a DE court accused Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and of plotting to manipulate the board of directors to allow him to return as CEO following his resignation in June.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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