The board of Uber voted to hire Expedia's Khosrowshahi at a time when the company badly needs to rebuild its image and bounce back from accusations of sexual harassment and corporate espionage.
Uber Technologies Inc on Sunday chose the chief executive of travel company Expedia Inc, Dara Khosrowshahi, as its chief executive. Khosrowshahi now has the difficult job of mending the dysfunctional ride-hailing giant and turning it from money-losing behemoth to a profitable company.
Uber's fractured eight-member board voted to hire Khosrowshahi late Sunday, capping three days of meetings and the withdrawal of once-top candidate Jeffery Immelt, former CEO and still chairman of General Electric, two people briefed on the decision said.
The board had voted but was declining to disclose its choice publicly until after informing employees, said a spokesperson on Sunday.
Khosrowshahi, 48, would take on the daunting task of mending Uber's image, repairing frayed relations among investors, rebuilding employee morale and creating a profitable business after seven years of losses.
In Khosrowshahi, Uber's board has picked an executive with a track record of driving growth while also delivering profits – precisely what the unprofitable Uber needs to satisfy investors.
He has also proven capable of making Expedia the leader in another industry full of change and competition – online travel.
An uphill ride
Khosrowshahi will replace ousted CEO Travis Kalanick and faces the difficult task of changing Uber's culture that has included sexual harassment and allegations of deceit and corporate espionage.
There are also allegations of executives mishandling the medical records of a victim who was raped by her Uber driver in India, among other controversies.
Kalanick was removed in June after shareholders representing about 40 percent of the company's voting power signed a letter asking him to step down amid growing concern over his behaviour and the behaviour of senior managers under him.
Who is Khosrowshahi
The Iranian-American businessman came to the United States as a child in 1978 with his parents following the Iranian Revolution. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Brown University and got his start at investment bank Allen and Co.
He has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, blasting Trump's travel ban, which includes Iran, as "inward-looking" and "reactionary." Expedia filed a legal challenge to the ban.
Khosrowshahi has certainly done well for himself. In 2015, he was the highest paid CEO in the country, mainly because of a nearly $91 million stock option grant. He is also on the board of the New York Times Company and sports merchandise company Fanatics Inc.
Khosrowshahi, who has run online travel firm Expedia for 12 years, was not known to the public to be among the top candidates for the job.
Uber also is losing millions every quarter as it continues to expand and invest in self-driving cars.
The company currently is being run by a 14-person group of managers and is without multiple top executive positions that will be filled by Khosrowshahi.