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Uber Gets a New CEO from Travel Company Expedia

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【Summary】Uber chose Dara Khosrowshahi, who leads the online travel company Expedia, to be its chief executive on Sunday. The selection capped a contentious search process as the ride-hailing company seeks to move past the turbulent events this year.

Eric Walz    Aug 28, 2017 12:12 PM PT
Uber Gets a New CEO from Travel Company Expedia

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber finally has a new CEO after Travis Kalanick stepped down in June amongst pressure from investors, as the company looks to improve its image and work to become profitable.

Uber chose Dara Khosrowshahi, who leads the online travel company Expedia, to be its chief executive on Sunday, two people with knowledge of the decision said. The selection capped a contentious search process as the ride-hailing company seeks to move past the turbulent events this year.

Uber, the company's board and Expedia did not respond to requests for comment from the media.

Mr. Khosrowshahi emerged as the leading candidate from a field of three finalists over a weekend of Uber board meetings, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential.

One finalist, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the former chief of General Electric, withdrew on Sunday when it became clear that he did not have enough support, said two people familiar with the process.

Travis Kalanick, stepped down from the CEO role under pressure on June 20. Under Mr. Kalanick, Uber changed the transportation landscape by offering people the ability to summon a ride through an app, and the privately held company swelled to a nearly $70 billion valuation.

So far, Uber has had a tough year, with the company involved in numerous scandals including sexual harassment accusations in the workplace, a Department of Justice criminal investigation into some of its methods, and an intellectual property dispute with a self-driving car rival Waymo. While Uber's business continued to grow, Mr. Kalanick's management style faced scrutiny and investors and board of directors mutinied against him.

Although Kalanick remains on Uber's board, the board itself has been rived with discord, especially between Mr. Kalanick and Benchmark, a venture capital firm that is a major Uber shareholder and that also has a seat on Uber's board. Both Mr. Kalanick and Benchmark had their own preferred candidates for a new chief. Benchmark also has sued Mr. Kalanick to try and force him off the board.

Mr. Khosrowshahi, who has been president and chief executive of Expedia since 2005, has experience in a digital industry that affects the logistics and movement of people. Based in Bellevue, Wash., Expedia has travel brands including Hotels.com and Orbitz. 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 nearly $70 billion.

Khosrowshahi could officially be introduced to Uber employees as early as today.

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