Expedia chief: It's a 'privilege' to join Uber

Expedia chief: It's a 'privilege' to join Uber
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Expedia’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said on Tuesday that he will accept the offer to be the next CEO of Uber.

In his first public comments since being offered the job on Sunday, Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg that it “would be a real privilege” to work at Uber but acknowledged challenges.

“Are there difficulties? Are there complexities? Are there challenges? Absolutely, but that’s also what makes it fun,” Khosrowshahi said. “I am not in this to coast. I’m in it to get my hands dirty and build a team and do something that people will look back on with tons of satisfaction.”

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One of his first tasks will be bringing in new leaders to fill posts vacated at the company over the last year and to repair the company’s battered reputation.

He is replacing Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from Uber on June 20 after a series of controversies and missteps.

In January, the company was criticized after it removed surge fares after tax cab drivers went on strike to protest President Trump’s travel ban. Critics viewed it as a move to undercut one of Uber’s biggest competitors and launched a #DeleteUber campaign on social media.

In February, former Uber employee Susan Fowler revealed allegations of female employees being mistreated and sexually harassed at the company.

Kalanick also added to the company’s PR nightmare when a video of him yelling at an Uber driver surfaced on the internet.

His actions led his critics, including major Uber investor Benchmark Capital, to call for his complete removal the company.

The venture capital firm is currently suing the former Uber CEO over control of three board seats. The lawsuit’s outcome could affect Kalanick level of involvement at the company.
Khosrowshahi told The Wall Street Journal that Kalanick will still be involved at Uber but did not provide specifics.

He told the paper he has a “budding” relationship with Kalanick

“I think there’s mutual respect there,” he added.

Khosrowshahi’s tenure at Expedia is largely seen as successful -- the company and its profits grew in his 12 years there. The company’s stock has dropped slightly since the news of his anticipated departure.

Over the weekend, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman was seen as the likely candidate to replace Kalanick, however, she reportedly could not agree with the board on terms.

Of the three shortlisted candidates, Khosrowshahi, GE CEO Jeff Immelt and herself, Whitman was seen most likely to keep Kalanick away from Uber.

Khosrowshahi praised Expedia to the Journal but said he was leaving because he wanted to take on a new challenge at Uber.

“This is not something I was looking for,” he said to Bloomberg. “I love Expedia. I was fully intending to stay here. It’s definitely the opportunity of a lifetime.”

This story was updated at 4:28 p.m.