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Uber taps Expedia chief executive to be its new CEO

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Uber taps Expedia chief executive to be its new CEO

Uber has picked Dara Khosrowshahi, head of the internet travel company Expedia, to serve as its new chief executive, according to multiple reports.

Khosrowshahi became the leading candidate out of three finalists during weekend board meetings to pick Uber’s CEO, sources told The New York Times.

One of the other finalists, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, withdrew on Sunday, reportedly after it became clear that he did not have enough support.

The other candidate, HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, was reportedly favored by board members and executives heading into the weekend. 

Outlets reported in advance of Uber’s decision that, if selected as CEO, Whitman was expected to keep ousted CEO Travis Kalanick at a distance from the ride-hailing firm’s operations. That reportedly contributed to Whitman’s inability to reach an agreement with the board.

If, as expected, Khosrowshahi accepts the position, he will take on the tall task of improving Uber’s public image, which has been marred in recent months, and restoring the company’s reputation as a top place to work in Silicon Valley.

Uber has endured a slew of self-induced bad publicity after a series of high-profile debacles over the past year. After revelations regarding programs the company used to circumvent government regulations against Uber, a former employee, Susan Fowler, revealed rampant alleged mistreatment of women at the company and other significant missteps at the company.

The company has been without a chief executive since Kalanick’s departure in June, and many other top leadership posts at the company have remained vacant as well.

Khosrowshahi is an Iranian-American who came to the U.S. in 1978 just before the Iranian Revolution. He’s been at the helm of Expedia for 12 years, which has thrived under his leadership. He also sits on the board of The New York Times and sports merchandise company Fanatics Inc.

When President Trump imposed his executive order banning foreign nationals from several predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S., Khosrowshahi penned a personal note on the matter reflecting on his own experiences immigrating to the U.S.

“We sure didn’t feel like refugees, but in hindsight I guess we were — my father and mother left everything behind to come here — to be safe and give their boys a chance to re-build a life,” he wrote.

At the end of a recent Wall Street analyst conference call, he jokingly mused, “Hopefully we will all be alive to see the end of next year.”

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