Uber’s New CEO Is An Iranian-American Engineer With Lots Of Travel Booking Experience

Written by Staff

Uber has selected Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia, as its new leader, a surprising turn after board members considered two other stalwarts of industry, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Sunday.

Khosrowshahi, 48, is an Iranian American who has run Expedia since 2005. His interest in the position was largely kept secret until Sunday. Even family members and close friends of Khosrowshahi were surprised by the news.

In Silicon Valley, Khosrowshahi is well liked and respected. He has presided over a huge expansion of the online travel company to more than 60 countries. He also is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, particularly his travel ban against Muslim Americans.

From Washington Post. Story by Elizabeth Dwoskin.

People who know Khosrowshahi said he will bring two assets to Uber. For one, he is considered even-keeled and low-key — a sharp contrast to Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive and co-founder, who has been known to fly into fits of anger. (In one infamous episode that was caught on video earlier this year, Kalanick unloaded on an Uber driver who criticized the company’s wages.)

Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo: LinkedIn

 

“My whole life, anytime I’ve faced a high-pressure decision, my model for mature behavior has been, ‘What would Dara do’? He’s one of the humblest and most even-keeled people I know,” said Ali Partovi, an entrepreneur and technology investor who is Khosrowshahi’s second cousin. The two went to primary school together in Iran.

Khosrowshahi’s other asset is his skill as a dealmaker in the highly competitive market for online travel. He has expanded Expedia into an even larger online travel conglomerate by acquiring other consumer brands, such as booking sites Travelocity and Orbitz, and home rental site HomeAway.

Khosrowshahi will face a company in crisis. He is tasked with transforming the company’s culture, while shoring up its business in the wake of lawsuits and competition, analysts say. Morale at Uber has plummeted in the wake of eight months of controversy, including reports of widespread discrimination and sexual harassment, lawsuits that threaten the company’s future, a leadership vacuum, and the ouster of Kalanick.

Read more at Washington Post.

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