New CEO plans to take Uber public within three years

Dara Khosrowshahi wants to see change at Uber, and that may include an IPO

Uber's new CEO is planning to take the taxi-hailing app public within three years.

Dara Khosrowshahi takes the wheel as CEO at Uber next week, but met with staff at the beleaguered company yesterday. According to a report in the Financial Times, one aspect of his plans for Uber is to take it public within 18 to 36 months.

Former CEO Travis Kalanick has previously said he was against going public, telling CNBC: "I'm going to make sure it happens as late as possible."

Despite that, Uber has long sat atop analysts and bankers' lists of expected IPOs, particularly after Kalanick's departure.

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Before such a move, Khosrowshahi said Uber needs to get its business in shape and refocus on "paying the bills", the FT report said. Uber has yet to actually pull a profit, largely because of the high costs of its expansion and its "big shots" such as investment into flying cars.

He also pledged to change corporate culture the reason his predecessor was pushed out of the company. "This company has to change," Khosrowshahi reportedly said. "What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level."

30/08/2017: Khosrowshahi says he's 'scared' about new role as Uber CEO

Former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said he is "scared" about taking on the role as Uber's new boss, in a memo announcing his official appointment to employees.

"This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life," said Khosrowshahi, in a memo obtained by Recode. "I've had the privilege to run Expedia for 12+ years now, and most of you who have been on this journey with me know it has not been easy going."

However, he added that he was worried by the idea of moving out of his comfort zone: "I have to tell you I am scared. I've been here at Expedia for so long that I've forgotten what life is like outside this place. But the times of greatest learning for me have been when I've been through big changes, or taken on new roles."

Khosrowshahi was appointed to the role by Uber's executive board on Sunday, following the dismissal of co-founder and long-term CEO Travis Kalanick. It is thought he has since been negotiating his contract, which could worth as much as $200 million, according to figures unearthed by Business Insider.

In a joint statement, the board reiterated that Khosrowshahi had received unanimous support, and welcomed him to the role.

"We're really fortunate to gain a leader with Dara's experience, talent and vision," said the statement, which included Arianna Huffington, considered to be one of the main proponents of change at the company. "The board and executive leadership team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future building world-class products, transforming cities, and adding value to the lives of drivers and riders around the world, while continuously improving our culture and making Uber the best place to work."

One of his first duties will be to formally greet Uber employees at a meeting today at the company's San Francisco headquarters.

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Travis Kalanick also congratulated the new CEO in a statement yesterday: "Casting a vote for the new chief executive was a big moment for me and I couldn't be happier to pass the torch to such an inspiring leader."

Uber will likely see the appointment as a significant step towards cleaning up the company's image, which has been tarred over the past year by allegations of systemic sexism and anti-competitive practices.

29/08/2017: Ex-Expedia chief takes on Uber CEO vacancy

Uber has announced the appointment of ex-Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO, replacing Travis Kalanick who resigned from the company last year amid reports of a corporate culture rife with sexism and harassment.

Dara Khosrowshahi has been the chief executive of Expedia since 2005. Before this, he worked at a number of other companies also led by Expedia chairman Barry Diller, including USA Networks and IAC Travel, which purchased Expedia in 2005. Khosrowshahi has also sat on the board of the New York Times since 2015.

Diller told Expedia's staff of Khosrowshahi's plans to accept the role in a memo. "Nothing has yet been finalised, but having extensively discussed this with Dara, I believe it is his intention to accept," he said according to the BBC.

Although rumours suggested HP chief executive Meg Whitman or Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of General Electric, could take up the demanding role, Immelt announced he wouldn't be joining the taxi firm in a tweet on Sunday.

"I have decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber. I have immense respect for the company & founders - Travis, Garrett and Ryan," he wrote on the social network. Although he didn't go into more detail about why he wouldn't be taking up the role, the New York Times speculated Immelt didn't get enough votes from the Uber board. 

Whitman said last week on Twitter she hadn't even considered leaving her role: "We have a lot of work still to do at HPE."

Neither Khosrowshahi nor Uber have commented on the appointment.

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28/07/2017: Who will replace Travis Kalanick at Uber?

After increasing pressure from investors, Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company last June. Kalanick faced criticism after numerous scandals took place over the last few months involving claims of systemic sexism and harassment in the workplace.

Kalanick has held the position of CEO since he co-founded Uber back in 2009; it's now valued at nearly $70 billion. Despite this, Uber was plagued with problems and was subject to numerous reviews, especially after ex-employee Susan Fowler wrote a blog post about her experiences of sexual harassment at the company.

Now, the ride-hailing app is on the search for someone to take Kalanick's place and steer it onto the right course. It's hoping to name a CEO by early September which means the next few weeks will be awash with rumours as to who that person might be. Since Kalanick still owns the majority of Uber, it would also make sense that a future CEO would get along well with him too.

Who could the next CEO of Uber be?

Meg Whitman, HPE CEO

There were rumours that Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE, was being considered for the position. Whitman recently stepped off the board of directors of HP Inc which fuelled rumours that she might make the move to Uber. As reported by Bloomberg, the company has drawn up a shortlist of six candidates, one of which is Whitman. According to two sources known to the publication, the HPE CEO has been meeting the firm's leadership over recent weeks too.

Despite this, Whitman took to Twitter yesterday to say that she wasn't going to leave HPE anytime soon. She said that she doesn't normally comment on rumours but the speculation of her becoming Uber's CEO had become a "distraction".

Whitman said: "I am fully committed to HPE and plan to remain the company's CEO."

In a following tweet she made this even clearer: "We have a lot of work still to do at HPE and I am not going anywhere. Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman."

Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric outgoing CEO

Jeffrey Immelt is set to leave General Electric and it has been suggested that he may take the steering wheel of the ride-hailing app. Bloomberg sources told the publication that he is on the shortlist too.

Immelt is leaving GE after spending 16 years at the company and his departure date is set to be on 31 December 2017, although his successor John Flannery will take over at the start of August. This may mean that he has started looking for a new role which makes him a potential candidate.

Marissa Mayer, ex-Yahoo CEO

Mayer was Yahoo's CEO before Verizon completed its acquisition of the company. She left as a result of this acquisition, receiving a $186 million payout in the process, and now is reportedly looking for her next role at a company as the CEO.

Mayer told Business Insider on 19 July that she definitely wants a new CEO role and wouldn't comment on whether she would like to take the helm of Uber. She did say, however, that Uber hadn't reached out to ask her about filling the position.

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Mayer has defended Travis Kalanick in the past, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, stating that Kalanick was unaware of the toxic culture at the company because it had grown so fast. She said: "I count Travis as one of my friends. I think he's a phenomenal leader; Uber is ridiculously interesting."

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