Uber CEO pick embraces job as 'opportunity of a lifetime'

  • Uber CEO pick embraces job as 'opportunity of a lifetime'

Uber CEO pick embraces job as 'opportunity of a lifetime'

At the end of a contentious CEO search, Khosrowshahi emerged as the dark horse, beating out better-known candidates, such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co's Meg Whitman and General Electric Co's Jeffrey Immelt.

But judging from an interview with The Financial Times - her first since Khosrowshahi was chosen - maybe Whitman didn't want the job after all.

The Iranian-American businessman was the highest paid chief executive in the U.S. in 2015, and saw Expedia's annual revenue double under his leadership.

Khosrowshahi's selection came as a surprise to many. Despite coming from a small company, Mr. Khosrowhahi has his own set of fans in Silicon Valley. "It wasn't calculated. It was from the heart, and I think I represented the company well". Khosrowshahi was on the Corner Office podcast in March about what it was like to lead a travel company under the cloud of the president's travel ban last spring. And those who know Khosrowshahi say he's the "adult" that Uber's corporate culture sorely needs.

With the bulk of Uber's troubles being tied to Kalanick, investors intervened by calling on him to step down as CEO and following consultations and pressure, he agreed to resign his position. Under Kalanick, Uber transformed the transportation scenario by offering people the ability to summon a ride through an app, and the privately held company swelled to almost $70 billion.

"My whole life, anytime I've faced a high-pressure decision, my model for mature behavior has been, "what would Dara do"?" "I was not a contender for this job until the weekend - and I'm not even sure I was then". The two went to primary school together in Iran.

One other place Khosrowshahi isn't shy?

When Expedia announced it would take bitcoin for hotel bookings in June 2014, it was the biggest business at the time to accept a cryptocurrency as a form of payment. However, Khosrowshahi will still have big problems to deal with, including a high-stakes trade secrets lawsuit filed by Alphabet's self-driving auto business Waymo, low morale among the company's 15,000 global employees, a badly tarnished brand image and persistent losses despite rising revenues.

Khosrowshahi will face a company in crisis.

Cowen's Kopelman, however, believes that Expedia has a strong management bench, with largely independent teams of seasoned executives in place running the company's major divisions. After Kalanick was pushed out, he scrambled to find allies who would help him make a comeback, the people with knowledge of the matter said.