After a tumultuous several months, complete with resignations, lawsuits, and plenty of bad blood, it briefly seemed as though Uber was close to gaining new leadership. As first reported by Recode, Jeff Immelt, former chairman of General Electric, had emerged as the top candidate to take the reins at Uber. According to sources, the majority of Uber’s board had decided to back the experienced executive.
But now, it seems as though that is not to pass. On Sunday, Immelt himself took to Twitter to announce that he would not be joining the Uber team.
I have decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber. I have immense respect for the company & founders – Travis, Garrett and Ryan.
— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) August 27, 2017
Instead, it would appear that the offer is going to Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. According to the New York Times, the executive was one of the other two finalists in play (the identity of the other remains unknown). Whitman, however, had previously insisted that she planned to stay at H.P.E. In fact, she recently tweeted that she was “fully committed to H.P.E. and plan to remain the company’s C.E.O,” and told the The Wall Street Journal last week that there was “a lot of work to be done at H.P.E.”
Neither a spokesperson for Whitman nor Uber provided comment.
A final decision is fast approaching. Uber’s directors are expected to vote on a new CEO within a few days, and whichever candidate wins the majority will certainly have his work cut out for him or her. Although the hope is that the final vote will be unanimous, it doesn’t necessarily have to be (nor is it guaranteed to be).
“We know it is never going to be a perfect choice, but everyone is becoming exhausted,” one person close to the situation said, as per Recode. “We need someone with the skills to move us along.”
But given that there’s quite a bit to be done at the beleaguered ride sharing giant, it comes as little surprise that filling the position has been difficult. Competitors in both the U.S. and abroad seem to have made up ground in the wake of the leadership fiasco that has hijacked headlines for most of 2017. Uber faces more challengers than ever in international markets, and even at home, Lyft is proving that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Moreover, Uber has plenty of lawsuits from disgruntled drivers to face, as well as some from disabled persons’ advocates. And while the company has a seemingly astronomical valuation, it’s still losing about a billion dollars a year.
So no matter who Uber’s next CEO is, it would be nice to see the company make some improvements from within.
Update: Jeff Immelt will not be Uber’s next CEO.
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