The search for Uber’s new CEO is over: Dara Khosrowshahi, currently CEO of Expedia, landed the job. He beat out some high-profile executives, including HP CEO Meg Whitman and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. How much do we know about him?
Though decidedly less of a household name than some of the other candidates for Uber’s top spot, Khosrowshahi seems to be well qualified for the job. Here’s what we know about him so far:
1. He’s an Iranian immigrant.
Khosrowshahi and his family left Tehran just in time to escape the Iranian revolution–although the family was still affected by it. “My father had to go back to Iran to take care of his father when I was 13 and was detained for six years before returning. My mom was raising three kids without a dad,” he told Bloomberg.
2. He’s no fan of President Donald Trump.
Given Trump’s ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations, Iran included, that’s a no-brainer. Expedia is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and the company, along with Amazon, contributed early declarations to the state’s lawsuit against the travel ban. “What some Americans don’t appreciate is how strong the brand of the American dream is around the world,” he told Bloomberg. “I’m an example of how powerful that product is. And now, our president is trying to pull it away from people of a certain origin and religious belief. I find that sad and very much against what our founders set out to build.”
3. He has a varied background that might be great for Uber.
Khosrowshahi earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Brown, then spend the next seven years at the boutique investment firm Allen & Co. Business mogul (and now Expedia Chair) Barry Diller was a client, and Khosrowshahi quickly decided he wanted to work for him. He held executive spots first at Diller’s USA Networks and then at another Diller company, IAC Travel, which purchased Expedia in 2001 and spun it off in 2015. Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia since 2005.
He’s also on the board of The New York Times, where publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. praised his expertise in digital, financial, and international matters.
4. Expedia paid him nearly $91 million in 2015–for promising to stay with the company.
Khosrowshahi made headlines in 2015 when he got $90.8 worth of stock options as a bonus from Expedia. The stock options were payment because he had signed an employment contract that lasts until September 2020. Will he now have to give them back? Unknown. But he does seem to have been good for Expedia. That same year, the company’s stock rose 47 percent although the market at large was basically flat. Revenue was up 16 percent as well.
5. He’s an interesting character.
Khosrowshahi and his wife Sydney Shapiro were married December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) in Las Vegas. The bride wore a Slayer T-shirt. “That tells you what kind of woman I’m lucky enough to be with,” he said.
6. Travis Kalanick wanted former GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt instead.
Although no longer CEO, Kalanick retains a lot of Uber stock and wields a lot of power on its board. However, many board members believed Immelt did not have the software expertise to run a digital company. Many board members favored Whitman instead. Khosrowshahi has been called the “truce candidate”–an acceptable third choice. By all accounts, he’s willing to leave his successful post at a stable and growing company to take up the challenges at an unstable, scandal-ridden, and much larger company which is also still growing. It should be a heckuva ride.