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Why this former health care CEO thinks this Uber board member is crucial to its success

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Former well-regarded Xerox CEO turn Uber (UBER) board member Ursula Burns is one of the ride-sharing company’s biggest assets post IPO, thinks a long-time ally.

“I think Ursula brings her own maturity and own experience in being in some pretty tough and challenging situations,” former Aetna CEO and friend of Burns, Ron Williams, told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. Williams and Burns both served on the boards of credit card issuer American Express (AXP).

Burns was ushered onto the Uber board in September 2017 along with former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain by ousted founder Travis Kalanick. Burns was CEO of Xerox (XRX) from 2009 to 2016, and is generally viewed favorably by Wall Street for her efforts to shift the printing copy to more digital services.

But the remake of Xerox’s business model was not without its challenges, to Williams’ point. It required a cultural upheaval to get staff to think faster as well as frequent cost-cutting efforts.

No doubt Burns and the rest of the Uber board have their work cut out for them following its initial public offering.

Ursula Burns speaks at the Eighth Annual John Wooden Global Leadership Award Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for UCLA Anderson/AP Images)

It’s Uber IPO time

Demand for Uber’s stock in the lead-up to its hotly anticipated IPO on Friday looks so-so. Uber may price its IPO at the midpoint of its target or below, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. At the low end of an expected $44 to $50 range, Uber may be reportedly valued at $80 billion.

Speculation in the months before Uber’s IPO had pegged its valuation as high as $120 billion.

Spokespeople for Uber’s lead underwriters — Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — declined to comment on the pricing.

The disappointing valuation isn’t a total shocker. For one, President Donald Trump tossed a time bomb into the stock market this week by threatening fresh tariffs on China by Friday. Hence, stocks have come well off their record highs.

Further, Uber’s financial standing is in worse shape than rival Lyft’s (LYFT) (who has seen its stock tank since a late March IPO).

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of ‘The First Trade’ at Yahoo Finance. Follow Brian Sozzi him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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