Uber picks new CEO, Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi, ending high-profile search

Expedia exec Dara Khosrowshahi accepts offer to become Uber CEO

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Uber’s board has finally chosen a new leader, and it’s not any of the high-profile executives that rumors had been swirling around. Rather, it’s the much less well-known Dara Khosrowshahi, who is the current leader of Expedia. On Monday, August 28, the travel company confirmed that its CEO had been offered the leading position at the ridesharing giant, where he’ll have his work more than cut out for him.

On August 29, Khosrowshahi suggested to the Wall Street Journal that he would be accepting the position. While his contract has yet to be finalized, the executive received unanimous approval from the Uber board to lead the company in a new direction. That said, it appears that Khosrowshahi is not entirely opposed to allowing former CEO Travis Kalanick to be involved in some capacity in the company, noting that the two men have a “budding” relationship.

Over the course of the last few days, rumors had run rampant about who the final pick for the challenging position might be. It was initially suggested that former GE leader Jeff Immelt would be taking the reins from Travis Kalanick, but Immelt himself confirmed that he would not be pursuing the position in a tweet on Sunday, August 27. Then it seemed as though Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise was the top contender. But now, all this speculation has passed, and Khosrowshahi has emerged as Uber’s new CEO.

The Expedia exec, in many ways, seems to be the opposite of the controversy-prone Kalanick. Khosrowshahi hails from Iran, where his family owned a number of manufacturing plants. As such, it came as little surprise that he was one of the first tech leaders to voice opinions against the Trump administration’s travel restrictions.

Khosrowshahi also boasts considerable experience, having served as president and chief executive of Expedia since 2005. While the public company is smaller than the private Uber, it provides a somewhat similar service — helping people travel from Point A to Point B (though the distance may vary quite a bit between the two firms). Expedia is based in Bellevue, Washington, where the tech culture is markedly different from that of Silicon Valley.

Still, relatively little is known about the executive, as his name seemed to be one of the few not mentioned in the ongoing deliberations surrounding Uber’s leadership future. But that could be for the best.

Update: Dara Khosrowshahi has indicated that he will accept the CEO position at Uber. 

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