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Who Is Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's New CEO?

Monday - 28/08/2017 11:00
Investors are already cheering the choice

By Biz Carson and Miguel Helft

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spent the last decade trying to stay one step ahead of the disruptors as Airbnb and others clawed at the company's business. It wasn't easy but it worked: The travel company's revenues increased 18% year over year, according to its most recent earnings results.

Now that Khosrowshahi has been selected as Uber's next CEO he will get to play the other side and lead one of the most disruptive technologies in the last decade.

Investors are already cheering the choice -- despite being labeled as a "truce" candidate in an internal board fight-- because of what he stands for.

While Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick was protested vehemently for joining a Trump advisory committee, which he later removed himself from, Khosrowshahi has been outspoken about the current president.

Many of the president's actions have affected the Iranian-born Khosrowshahi, who moved to the US with his family at the age of four as a refugee following the Iranian revolution. “It is important to have safe borders, but at the same time we can’t forget what brought us here. This is an immigrant nation,” he told the Financial Times earlier this year.

After a career first in banking before spending many years at Barry Diller's IAC, Khosrowshahi considers himself an embodiment of the American Dream.

Since taking over Expedia as CEO in 2005, the executive has battled economic recessions that cut into people's travel budgets and upstarts like Airbnb that have tried to take away its business.

As CEO of Uber, Khosrowshahi will be stepping into a minefield of battles, albeit many of them internal power struggles rather than global economic events.

Still, his selection amid a board power struggle between Kalanick and Benchmark Capital, one of Uber's earliest and largest investors, signals that Khosrowshahi is ready to for a new fight.

He'll have his hands full from day one with a large lawsuit looming over the future of Uber's self-driving car program and a nearly-empty C-Suite that will require him to hire a new COO and CFO for the ride-hailing company.

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