Uber board chooses head of Expedia to be company's new CEO

By Ray Downs  |  Updated Aug. 28, 2017 at 9:20 AM
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Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The board of Uber has voted for Dara Khosrowshahi, the current head of Expedia, to be the company's new CEO.

"The Board has voted and will announce the decision to employees first," an Uber spokesperson said, according to ReCode.

It's not clear if Khosrowshahi will accept the position, but the vote ends a long-lasting search by the company's board to find a new leader after the controversial resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick.

The vote came as a surprise to tech industry observers since Khosrowshahi's name was not in the running of candidates. The two candidates known to be in the running were Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, who withdrew his name from consideration Sunday morning.

According to The Washington Post, Uber board members were divided about whether to vote in Whitman or Khosrowshahi, with the Expedia CEO ultimately winning out.

Khosrowshahi, 48, has been at the helm of Expedia since 2005, helping the online booking site become "one of the largest online travel companies in the world," according to the company. Since his arrival at Expedia, the company's stock shot up from $20 per share in 2005 to $149 as of Friday. It also has expanded operations to 60 countries.

If Khosrowshahi takes the job at Uber, he would likely demand a big salary. In 2015, Expedia paid him $94.6 million, enough to be considered the highest-paid CEO in the United States that year.

Before Expedia, Khosrowshahi, who was born in Iran and raised in the United States, comes from a family of tech entrepreneurs, was previously the CEO of IAC Travel.

Khosrowshahi is reportedly known for his calm and low-key demeanor, which is a contrast to the brash attitude that made Kalanick a controversial figure in Silicon Valley.

"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, a technology investor who is also Khosrowshahi's second cousin.

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