New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is, on paper at least, the ideal candidate for the role. He is, in essence, the anti-Travis Kalanick; the former CEO who still sits on Uber’s board.
Khosrowshahi was formerly the CEO of Expedia, and during his time there gained a reputation for equality, caring for staff and being a safe pair of hands. Expedia has a reported female to male ratio of 50-50 in an industry that is dominated by males. He is also cautious with his decision-making, and inclusive of senior management teams, something that will be an exciting prospect for Uber’s alienated executives.
But has Uber gone too far in appointing someone with undeniable talent, but who is also the absolute opposite of Kalanick? In other words, have they solved the wrong problem?
Every chief executive has strengths and weaknesses, and while Khosrowshahi has a solid track record of achieving consistent growth while prioritising people and values, he is not the ruthless bulldog that many said should take on the mantle.
In fact, many have pointed out that the issues within the rideshare giant are not exclusive to the former CEO. Uber faces legal battles with Google, and massive scalability issues as just two of its many problems. Additionally, Uber is hemorrhaging money – reportedly around $650 million a quarter, and losing market share as drivers and passengers alike jump ship for competitors now that Uber has done the hard work of creating industry awareness.
Khosrowshahi has been likened to Tim Cook, the Apple CEO who took over after Steve Jobs. Former employees and colleagues speak of his consistency, and how he is a calm and diligent decision-maker, unfazed by the daily storms facing senior tech executives.
Hopefully, that is just what Uber needs to steady the ship, and it’s unlikely that many in Silicon Valley – perhaps apart from Kalanick – would wish him anything but good luck. His first major battle may well be with the board, that Kalanick still sits on, and senior management which he will no doubt be keen to turnover in order to present a clean slate to the market and staff.
Many will anxiously await his first move, and no doubt a plethora of Uber loyalists will be hoping that this is a turning point for the former Silicon Valley darling.