In a surprise move, Uber’s board of directors has selected Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia, to be the company’s next chief executive, ending a messy public battle over the future of the world’s most valuable private company.
His selection represents a “truce” among rival coalitions on the dysfunctional Uber board. Some investors preferred Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP, according to reports in Recode. The selection of one of the world’s most accomplished female business leaders might have sent a strong signal about Uber’s reinvention following a scandal-ridden year rife with accusations of systemic sexism against the company’s leaders. Other board members, including former CEO Travis Kalanick, are said to have preferred Jeff Immelt, the former chief executive of GE. Kalanick resigned from the company in June under intense pressure from investors, some of whom are still trying to minimize his involvement with the company.
In Khosrowshahi, Uber has selected a CEO who is both a logical successor to Kalanick and a reaction to his most obvious shortcomings. Like Kalanick, Khosrowshahi has presided over the dramatic growth of a digital platform company; Uber and Expedia are both, essentially, aggregator sites that connect consumers to clients. He has a sterling business record, having quadrupled Expedia’s revenue since taking over in 2005, despite the sharp downturn in travel during the Great Recession.