Opinion: David Drummond For Uber CEO

Kwame Som-Pimpong
Written by Kwame Som-Pimpong

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned recently as CEO after Uber investors and board members made a set of demands including his resignation.

Now that Kalanick is gone, everyone is wondering who will become CEO. Media publications have floated a host of names. Frankly, none of them have really made sense.

David Drummond’s name is not one that has come up, but I think is one that should be strongly considered.

Uber needs to professionalize. Eric Holder said Uber needed to improve the company’s culture. Until now, Uber has been run like a startup, even with 12,000 employees. Drummond has played a key role in the professionalization of Alphabet. His signature is on Google’s incorporation papers. He was there at the very beginning of Google. He also played a role in bringing Eric Schmidt as adult supervision for Sergey Brin and Larry Page. He was there as Larry Page prepared to eventually become CEO. He was also there as Google became Alphabet.

His leadership has spanned the entire company. He oversaw the company’s legal affairs, M&A activity, business development, and he plays an integral role in the company’s board activity. If anyone can lead the professionalization of Uber, David can.

From LinkedIn. Story by Kwame Som-Pimpong, manager of the Africa Business Fellowship, a partnership that sends talented American business leaders to get business experience in African markets. He is also editor of Black People Things, a weekly newsletter that surfaces business news by and/or about black people.

The Case For David Drummond

  • Uber needs someone who understands its business. Drummond joined Uber’s board in 2013 after Google Ventures invested $260 million in the company. He left the board a few years ago when the conflict between Google and Uber over their respective work on self-driving cars. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, that conflict has gotten pretty heated. Anyway, Drummond understands a good bit of Uber’s business, which will probably provide significant context for him to use in moving the company forward.
  • Uber needs someone who has a grasp of finding the future. Drummond oversees corporate development for Alphabet, which has included overseeing acquisitions of companies working on machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, life sciences, and more. Uber is working towards being a logistics company. Acquisitions are going to play a huge role in that and David Drummond has decades of experience with that — YouTube, ITA Software (Google Flights), Waze, DoubleClick, AdMob, and the list goes on. These acquisitions have played a key role in building the behemoth that is Google.
  • Uber needs someone who knows how to deal with regulators on a global scale. The implications of what happens to Uber have wide-ranging impact. Over the past several years, Uber has pushed its way into markets around the world, despite protests from politicians and regulators. At a perceived moment of weakness, we can expect the company to face increased pressure from regulators to operate well behind the line of what is legal. Drummond has years of experience waging regulatory battles around the world. He has been dealing with antitrust cases in Europe for years now. Uber will need that experience.

 

Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.


About Kwame Som-Pimpong
Kwame Som-Pimpong is manager of the Africa Business Fellowship, a partnership that sends talented American business leaders to get business experience in African markets. He is also editor of Black People Things, a weekly newsletter that surfaces business news by and/or about black people.

View Comments
  • Ryan Welch

    Great Op on Uber taking Mr. Drummond vast experience with managing acquisitions and handling professional standards for a huge company like Google and the dealings with antitrust abroad. It is important for Uber to win back the trust of regulators and Politicians if the startup Uber hopes to continue its innovative streak.