Uber’s Board of Directors has offered the vacant CEO job, formerly occupied by founder Travis Kalanick, to current Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Kalanick was forced to resign nine weeks ago, after a board-sponsored investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder found that Kalanick failed to intervene regarding rumors of sexual harassment by senior management, and that the company failed to sufficiently meet racial and gender diversity goals. TechCrunch reported that after dumping Kalanick, the valuation for Uber’s private shares plunged from $68 billion to $50 billion.
Although Kalanick’s support of President Donald Trump was not specifically cited as a reason for his ouster, Uber’s activist Board of Directors, led by Benchmark Partners, appears to have found a new CEO that dislikes President Donald Trump.
Dara Khosrowshahi was born in Iran, and his family left in 1978 just prior to the revolution. He graduated from an Ivy league school, earning a B.A. in electrical engineering from Brown University. He was an investment banker in New York for Allen & Company; he has worked in media, at USA Networks; he has been CEO of Expedia since 2005, when was the highest paid American executive; and he sits on the board of the corporate parent of Black Entertainment Television.
Expedia is part of Barry Diller’s IAC $40 billion empire, which holds control of eight public companies, including Match Group, TripAdvisor, HSN, Tree, Interval, and Live Nation (formerly Ticketmaster), totaling approximately $40 billion of value over the last 10 years. Other brands controlled by IAC include Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Tinder, OKCupid, Ask, Home Advisor, Vimeo, and dozens more.
Khosrowshahi was part of IAC’s acquisition of Expedia in August 2005. He has overseen the expansion of the travel and entertainment website to over 60 countries in the last 11 years. Expedia also now controls TripAdvisor, Hotwire, and Hotels.com.
Barry Diller originally called the Trump presidential win “interesting,” but at the July Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley he responded to a CNBC interview question about the Trump presidency: “I think it’s just a joke. Hopefully it will be over relatively soon.”
Like Diller, Khosrowshahi has actively opposed President Trump. Seattle-based Expedia and Amazon joined forces to support Washington State’s lawsuit against President Trump’s controversial “travel ban” Executive Order in March.
Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg: “What some Americans don’t appreciate is how strong the brand of the American dream is around the world.” He added, “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.”
Expedia Inc.’s stock (EXPE:OTC) was up 32 percent in the Trump bull market this year before the Uber news leaked. But its shares fell by over 7 percent during market and after-market trading, as the rumor of Khosrowshahi becoming Uber CEO was confirmed.