The board of directors of Uber — the ride hailing titan valued at $70 billion — has voted to name Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief exec, following months of searching in the wilderness.
Khosrowshahi hasn’t accepted the offer yet, but with the San Francisco-based company mired in controversy for much of the year, it’s desperately in need of a fresh face. Its co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned in June (although he remains on its board), with shareholders revolting against the company’s seemingly toxic work environment.
To recap a few of the lowlights: An Uber exec was fired earlier this year after looking at the medical records of a passenger that was raped in India; former Attorney General Eric Holder issued a damning report on the company’s culture, calling for less drinking and hooking up between workers; and footage leaking of Kalanick getting into a shouting match with an Uber driver after the Super Bowl. Classy.
Despite Uber’s penchant for cringeworthy headlines, if Khosrowshahi takes the reins, he’ll be leading the most valuable private company in America. Khosrowshahi was dubbed the “truce” choice for Uber’s board — with Benchmark, one of the company’s main investors, backing Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, while Kalanick pushed for former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.
Sounds like a dream scenario for Khosrowshahi to walk into, doesn’t it? With that in mind, here are a few more things you should know about the man on the verge of being Uber’s next CEO.
He’s already running a major company.
Khosrowshahi has been at the helm of Expedia since 2005. Shares of the travel company have shot up nearly 800 percent — from $19 to about $150 — in that time.
He’s a first-generation immigrant.
He was born in Iran in 1969, and came to the US in 1978 during the Iranian Revolution. His family settled about 30 miles outside of New York City.
He is Ivy League-educated.
Khosrowshahi went on to study electrical engineering at Brown University.
He’s not a big fan of President Trump.
Khosrowshahi hasn’t been shy about sharing his distaste for President Donald Trump on Twitter. Following the president’s response to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month, Khosrowshahi tweeted “I keep waiting for the moment when our Prez will rise to the expectations of his office and he fails, repeatedly.” He has also pushed back against the president’s “Muslim ban.”
Standing up for our travelers and our immigrant roots. Expedia Supports Lawsuit Against Trump’s Immigration Ban https://t.co/UwawZETzUn
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) February 1, 2017
It could cost Uber an arm and a leg to bring him onboard
Major tech execs don’t work for cheap, and Khosrowshahi is no exception. He was the highest-paid executive in the country in 2015, cashing out $95 million that year, thanks in large part to massive stock options. He “only” made $2.5 million last year. But if Uber wants to pry him away from Expedia, it could cost up to $200 million, since Khosrowshahi owns about $185 million in unvested stock options with the company.
He’s got a hand in the publishing word
Jeff Bezos isn’t the only one that can play this game. Khosrowshahi was added to the board of the New York Times in 2015, with chairman Arthur Sulzberger praising his “financial expertise” and “comprehensive digital and international experience.”