- Kevork Djansezian / Staff
In his first public comments since being selected to lead the embattled ride-hailing giant, Khosrowshahi told the Wall Street Journal that he would leave his current post as CEO of online travel service Expedia in order to seize a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
Khosrowshahi told the Journal that Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick will continue to be involved in the company, but he did not clarify in what capacity.
He described his relationship with Kalanick, who was forced to resign from the Uber CEO role in June amid a wave of scandals at the company, as “budding” and said there was “mutual respect.”
The 48-year-old Khosrowshahi will take the helm of the world’s most valuable privately-held tech startup, valued at roughly $69 billion by its investors. From Day One, he will have an incredibly tough job steering the ride-hailing company back to stability, after months of turmoil, executive departures and bitter infighting at the board level.
Khosrowshahi’s selection came as a surprise to many. He was chosen over both Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman and former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, and his name hadn’t been mentioned as a possible candidate prior to Sunday, when the news surfaced that he got the job.
The process that led to Khosrowshahi getting the top job remains unclear.Whitman initially denied any interest in the CEO job, but according to the Wall Street Journal, gave a presentation to Uber’s board on Saturday.Immelt also reportedly met with Uber directors on Friday and Saturday, but tweeted on Sunday he was taking his name out of the running. With Uber’s board divided into different factions,Khosrowshahi may have ultimately won by virtue of being the only candidate everyone could agree on.