Uber reportedly taps Expedia CEO to replace Travis Kalanick

Dara Khosrowshahi will be the ride-hailing startup's next CEO, according to The New York Times.

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Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been chosen to lead Uber.


Uber's contentious search for a new CEO appears to be over.

The board of directors of the ride-hailing startup chose Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of online travel company Expedia, to fill the position, The New York Times reported late Sunday. Khosrowshahi, who has been president and chief executive of Expedia since 2005, was one of three candidates the board was considering, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.

Uber didn't respond to a request for comment. Expedia also didn't respond to a request for comment, nor did it make Khosrowshahi available. 

The hiring would end a tumultuous search for an executive to fill the position, which has been vacant since co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced out of the job two months ago. Earlier Sunday, the board's pool of candidates narrowed when former GE chief Jeff Immelt, who was considered a front-runner, announced by tweet that he had withdrawn his name from consideration.

Kalanick resigned from his role in June after a slew of scandals at the San Francisco-based startup. More than 20 employees were fired after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations and the company is defending itself against a trade-secret theft lawsuit from Waymo, a self-driving car business run by Alphabet, Google's parent company.

The company's problems started snowballing in February when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post titled "Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber." She wrote about sexual harassment, "a game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management," and gender bias. 

Meg Whitman, currently head of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and formerly of eBay, had also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the position, but Whitman put that speculation to rest in late July when she proclaimed "Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman."

Complicating the hunt for a new CEO were rumors that Kalanick was plotting a return to Uber in that role, something the company has flatly denied.

Khosrowshahi joined Expedia as CEO in 2005 after seven years at Barry Diller's IAC, which shortly after spun off the travel site. Under Khosrowshahi, Expedia expanded by buying companies in similar businesses, including Trivago, Travelocity and Orbitz. He also sits on several boards, including at The New York Times.

In an interview with The Financial Times last month, Khosrowshahi said he was focused on voice technology as a potential way to make booking travel arrangements simpler. 

"You are going to get into a world where people are going to ask questions," he told the paper. "And we will be able to answer any question about travel."

Khosrowshahi, who immigrated to the US from Iran as a young boy, hasn't been shy in criticizing President Donald Trump. Following Trump's February decision to restrict immigration from seven countries, Khosrowshahi sent an email to Expedia staff saying the president's executive order was short-sighted. 

"The US may be an ever so slightly less dangerous as a place to live," he wrote. "But it will certainly be seen as a smaller nation, one that is inward-looking versus forward thinking, reactionary versus visionary."

Khosrowshahi also criticized the president's response to a clash between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead.  "I keep waiting for the moment when our Prez will rise to the expectations of his office and he fails, repeatedly," Khosrowshahi tweeted

First published Aug. 27 at 6:18 p.m. PT
Updated at 9:11 p.m. PT : Added background on Khosrowshahi.
Updated at 11:06 p.m. PT: Added more background, including previous comments.

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