Dara Khosrowshahi may know a thing or two about air travel and booking vacations, but running Uber will be an entirely new challenge. The embattled ride-hailing company asked Khosrowshahi, the 48-year-old head of Expedia, to become its new chief executive on Sunday.
Uber's hunt for a new leader began in June when the company's co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down following scandals like sexual harassment, intellectual property disputes and a Department of Justice criminal investigation. Khosrowshahi was one of three most recent candidates, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.
Here's what you should know about Dara Khosrowshahi:
- Khosrowshahi was born in Iran. His family emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s, before the Iranian Revolution.
- Now 48, he graduated from Brown University in 1991 with an electrical engineering degree. He spent seven years at the investment bank Allen & Company, and later worked at IAC/InterActive Corp.
- He served as president and CEO of Expedia since 2005. The travel logistics company owns brands like Orbitz and Hotels.com.
- He will have to face higher expectations and heavy pressure in his new role. Expedia is a publicly traded company with market capitalization of $23 billion, which is $40 billion less than Uber's nearly $70 billion.
- He does a lot of multitasking. Khosrowshahi also sits on boards of The New York Times Company and sports retailer Fanatcis.
- He has been praised as an inspirational leader. "Dara is the smartest, most passionate and thoughtful executive I've worked with in 25 years," Burke Norton, former Salesforce and Expedia senior executive, told Recode. "He has super high integrity and is a phenomenal leader -- the kind of leader whom people would follow into a burning building."
- He is politically vocal. At Expedia, Khosrowshahi was known as an outspoken chief who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
- Under Khosrowshahi's leadership, Expedia was one of the first tech companies to contribute early declarations to a lawsuit objecting to President Donald Trump's travel ban in January. "We sure didn't feel like refugees, but in hindsight I guess we were," Khosrowshahi wrote in an email to employees in January. "My father and mother left everything behind to come here -- to be safe and give their boys a chance to re-build a life."