Wednesday, 20 September, 2017

Uber chooses Expedia's chief as CEO after contentious deliberations

Dara Khosrowshahi the chief executive officer of Expedia Inc Dara Khosrowshahi the chief executive officer of Expedia Inc
Debra Rodriguez | 29 August, 2017, 01:57

The startup, last valued at $68 billion, is now being run by an "executive leadership team" that includes some of Uber's most senior employees, such as chief product officer Jeff Holden and regional general manager for the U.S. and Canada Rachel Holt.

Mr Immelt tweeted on Sunday that he had decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber, despite his "immense respect" for the company and its founders. "I have enormous respect for the company & founders". In its filing, the firm stated, "It has been widely reported that Mr. Kalanick's behavior has caused potential CEO candidates to withdraw from consideration".

Among Khosrowshahi's first tasks at Uber would be filling a slew of executive vacancies, including those of chief financial officer, chief operating officer and general counsel.

Two Uber stockholders are trying to prove that Benchmark Capital, the investor that pushed for the ouster of founder Travis Kalanick as CEO and is now suing him for fraud, leaked information about Uber before all that started in a bid to take control of the ride-hailing giant. His experience running a diverse conglomerate and dealing with a corporate board was considered a big plus by some Uber board members who want to bring experienced leadership to the company.

Uber investor Benchmark Capital complicated the CEO search when the firm filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Kalanick to force him off the board and rescind his ability to fill two board seats. Kalanick enjoyed sweeping authority on the board and almost complete autonomy in running the company, a governance style that often wreaked havoc. The firm has approached the judge in DE court and has stated that the Kalanick, who is still a member of the board is still interfering in critical decisions being taken by the company.

The source said Immelt did not see a path to being able to do the job with a "completely dysfunctional" board and a "disruptive" investor like Benchmark. Uber didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

The board still needs to come together to pick a CEO to turn the company around.

Both Kalanick and Benchmark had their own preferred candidates. Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, was also a leading contender but said in late July that the Uber search process had become a "distraction" and that she would not be the next CEO.

Jeff Immelt has withdrawn himself from contention to be the next CEO of Uber. Meanwhile, the board itself disagreed with the Benchmark suit, releasing a statement signed by all members except Benchmark representative Matt Cohler that it was "disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders" has resulted in litigation.

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