In the end it wasn’t Jeff Immelt. Or Meg Whitman.
Uber has offered the CEO post to Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of global online travel platform Expedia. Khosrowshahi’s name hadn’t come up in public speculation about Uber’s next CEO, which focused on Immelt, former CEO of GE, and Whitman, chief of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Uber’s board met this weekend to review its three leading candidates for the job, which has been vacant since Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was pressured to resign in June. Immelt withdrew from the running earlier on Sunday (Aug. 27), reportedly after it became clear that he did not have enough votes from the board.
The appointment—should Khosrowshahi accept—would conclude a tumultuous search that has consumed Uber for the better part of two months. The process has deeply divided Uber’s board, culminating in Benchmark Capital, one of its largest investors, suing Kalanick and the company for mismanagement and misconduct.
Khosrowshahi will have his work cut out for him. Uber, last valued at $68 billion, imploded in spectacular fashion this year. The startup is still reeling from sexual harassment allegations that prompted a companywide review, resulted in the firing of more than 20 employees, and led to suggestions that it might benefit from naming a female CEO. Uber is also fighting a lawsuit against self-driving carmaker Waymo, and faces a federal probe over its use of a software tool to evade law enforcement.
It’s unclear what Khosrowshahi’s selection means for Kalanick, who has spent the past two months plotting a return to the company. Kalanick holds approximately 10% of Uber’s stock, including roughly 16% of its voting power and 35% of its Class B common stock.
Kalanick’s supporters were said to have favored Immelt as Uber’s next CEO, while his detractors reportedly pushed for Whitman, who was warier of Kalanick returning to power at the company. Whitman said in late July that the Uber search process had become a “distraction” and that she would not be the next CEO, but seemingly reemerged as a contender this weekend.
Uber remains without a chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and senior vice president of engineering, among other roles. The company is being run by an “executive leadership team” that includes some of its most senior employees, such as chief product officer Jeff Holden and regional general manager for the US and Canada Rachel Holt.
Fittingly, Uber concluded its CEO search shortly before the Game of Thrones season finale.