Uber Names Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi As New Chief Executive

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Uber Names Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi As New Chief Executive

He'll succeed co-founder Travis Kalanick, who grew Uber into a US$20 billion (S$27b) annual booking business previous year before scandals forced him out.

Shares of online travel company Expedia Inc. tumbled 4.5% in early trade Monday, on news that Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi is to become next CEO of Uber. He also serves on the boards of Fanatics Inc. and The New York Times Co. The situation remains fluid, however; board members and investors have been feuding over issues including board control. (HPE) CEO Meg Whitman was said to be another top choice (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meg-whitman-may-be-back-in-the-running-for-uber-ceo-2017-08-27) and spoke to Uber's board Saturday, although she maintained publicly that she was not interested in the job. The shortlist of candidates had narrowed to three people - Whitman, Immelt and an unknown candidate.

He has been at the helm of Washington-based Expedia for the past 12 years, after coming to the United States in 1978 with his parents following the Iranian revolution. Before that, he had worked for Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp., of which Expedia was a part before spinning out in 2015. Expedia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment or make Khosrowshahi available.

If he takes the Uber job, he would have a steep task ahead of him.

However, he hasn't been especially shy about his political views. That same year, the company's stock rose 47 percent although the market at large was basically flat.

As the Washington Post notes of Khosrowshahi, who is Iranian-American, he is "well liked and respected" within Silicon Valley after presiding over "a huge expansion of [Expedia] to over 60 countries", and he's "also a vocal critic of President Trump, particularly his travel ban against Muslim Americans". Since then, the Iranian-American businessman has led the company to impressive growth, expanding its global reach and spearheading several successful acquisitions, including Hotels.com and Hotwire. Khosrowshahi is expected to agree but nothing has been officially confirmed so far.

On Sunday, an Uber spokesman reportedly said, "The board has voted and will announce the decision to the employees first".

In a previous statement, Kalanick said he would support the new CEO "to guide Uber into its next phase of growth and ensure its continued success". Khosrowshahi immigrated to the USA with his family at age 9 and settled in Westchester County.

The company now is being run by a 14-person group of managers and is without multiple top executive positions that will be filled by Khosrowshahi.

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