It’s official: Uber’s new CEO is Dara Khosrowshahi.
Uber’s board members sent a company-wide email to employees on Tuesday evening, which Yahoo Finance obtained.
“We’re really fortunate to gain a leader with Dara’s experience, talent and vision,” the letter to employees reads. “The Board and the executive Leadership Team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future building world-class products, transforming cities, and adding value to the lives of drivers and riders around the world while continuously improving our culture and making Uber the best place to work.”
Khosrowshahi also told Bloomberg on Tuesday the Uber CEO job was “the opportunity of a lifetime.” “This is not something I was looking for,” he said. “I love Expedia. I was fully intending to stay here. It’s [Uber] definitely the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Khosrowshahi was essentially the dark horse in the competition for Uber’s next CEO, given numerous news reports pegged two other CEO candidates — GE chairman Jeff Immelt and Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO Meg Whitman — as front runners. Khosrowshahi’s name also remained a well-kept secret during the two months of discussions and deliberations among Uber’s board members.
But of the three candidates, Khosrowshahi, 48, may well be the best suited to steer Uber in the months and years ahead. During his 12 years as Expedia’s chief executive, he grew the business from $2.1 billion in annual revenues on $15 billion in gross bookings in 2005 to $8.7 billion in annual revenues on $72.4 billion in gross bookings in 2016. Khosrowshahi also led the acquisitions of the $1.3 billion merger with rival travel business Orbitz in 2015, as well as the $3.9 billion purchase of HomeAway that same year. All in all, Expedia’s stock more than tripled during his tenure.
With Uber, Khosrowshahi inherits an embattled company rocked by months of scandal involving alleged sexual harassment in the workplace and questionable workplace practices. A legal battle with self-driving company Waymo, spun out by Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in late 2016, also looms large.
The headline of this post has been updated to indicate that the letter came from the entire board and not just Arianna Huffington.
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