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. If everything goes right, Khosrowshahi will occupy the post vacated by Uber's founder and erstwhile CEO Travis Kalanick back in June and hopefully put a plug on the series of public debacles that the firm has been attracting for some time now.
The Expedia CEO is set to succeed co-founder Travis Kalanick, who grew Uber into a $20 billion annual booking business a year ago, only to resign as CEO in June under investor pressure.
It is understood that the hunt for a new CEO was narrowed down to three finalists, with Hewlett Packard Enteprise CEO Meg Whitman and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the contenders to Khosrowshahi.
Earlier in the morning, Immelt had tweeted: "I have decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber". And a divided board shifted between Whitman and Khosrowshahi throughout the weekend, the people said, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private meetings. Immelt and Khosrowshahi presented to Uber's board of directors on Friday, while Whitman presented on Saturday, NYT reported. With this, the Uber Board has ended months of retrospection over finding a successor to ousted Travis Kalanick.
As Uber's new CEO, Khosrowshahi will face a big job, including repairing the company's internal culture, navigating legal battles, and reducing its financial losses.
Khosrowshahi is reportedly a compromise choice by the board.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the appointment and there has been no comment from Khosrowshahi. In addition to the dust-up between Kalanick and Benchmark, there's plummeting morale, a corporate culture that has spawned multiple reports of discrimination and sexual harassment, and competitive challenges on several fronts. 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". "I am fully committed to HPE and plan to remain the company's CEO". Other top executives, such as Uber's first employee and SVP of global operations, have also stepped down recently. The publicly traded company is smaller than the privately held Uber, with a market capitalization of around $23 billion compared with Uber's private valuation of almost $70 billion. The company needs a CFO, COO, CMO and president.
Whitman, 61, had previously said she planned to stay at HP.