Dara Khosrowshahi joined Uber four years ago during a tumultuous time for the company. Uber had quickly grown from a start up that was disrupting industries into a global behemoth, valuing the company near $100 billion. However, under founder Travis Kalanick, the company’s corporate culture suffered. Uber went through several high-profile scandals that eventually led to Kalanick’s exit.
Khosrowshahi’s first missive was to clean up the operations and position Uber for long term success. At that point, Uber was getting ready to go public and Khosrowshahi also had to present a calm demeanor to investors.
“My dad’s advice was, ‘If a company that’s a verb offers you a job, say yes,’” Khosrowshahi, 52, told Maureen Dowd recently.
Khosrowshahi developed a stellar reputation at Expedia, where he was CEO for 12 years, a period during which he quintupled Expedia’s revenues. But Uber presented a different challenge. The internal culture needed a makeover, and decisions needed to be made about ancillary projects ranging from scooters and bikes to autonomous cars and flying cars. And then there were persistent questions in Uber’s core business on how drivers would be classified as employees or independent contractors.
Ever the rational optimist, and a pro at projecting calm, Khosrowshahi found a winning formula in Uber Eats, the company’s delivery service.
“When I joined, Eats was a $2.5 billion business,” he told Dowd. “We’re going to be over $50 billion now. Eats on a volume basis is going to be bigger than Rides chiefly because with Eats, we’re going to go to grocery and we’re going to the pharmacy and we’re going to every single local commerce category. It’s a bigger market.”
“My goal in life is not to build the most sexy company,” he said. “It is to build the best company.”
Khosrowshahi will join the HBS Club of NY in an exclusive conversation for all things Uber and what the future holds for the company. Join us for this exciting conversation.
Participants must register by NOON on January 12th to receive details on joining the discussion. The Zoom link will be sent out 24 hours before the event.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
CEO of Uber
Dara Khosrowshahi is the CEO of Uber, where he manages the company’s fast-growing business in 63 countries around the world and leads a global team of more than 22,000 employees.
Dara was previously CEO of Expedia, which he grew into one of the world’s largest online travel companies. A seasoned executive with a background in both engineering and finance, Dara oversaw several acquisitions that bolstered Expedia’s offerings and aggressively invested in mobile, which now accounts for more than half of Expedia’s traffic. He was also beloved by Expedia’s employees and named one of the Highest Rated CEOs on Glassdoor. Dara was promoted to Expedia CEO after serving as the Chief Financial Officer of IAC Travel, a division of IAC, which purchased Expedia in 2002 and spun it off in 2005. He was also instrumental in the expansion of IAC’s portfolio of travel brands.
Before joining IAC, Dara served as Vice President of Allen & Company and spent several years as an analyst. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Expedia and Catalyst.org and was previously on the board of the New York Times Company. He’s a passionate advocate for refugees in crisis around the world, having himself left Iran during the Iranian Revolution at the age of 9.
Dara grew up in Tarrytown, New York, and received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Brown University.
Partner, Vici Partners
Lance Stuart is a partner at Vici Partners. He has over 30 years of consulting and operating experience, principally in the U.S., Japan and China. Clients span industries from cosmetics and consumer electronics to software, chemicals, insurance, airlines and telecoms. He has been an investor, co-founder, CEO, COO and board member of several companies in the U.S. and Asia. He began his career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in New York then transferred to Tokyo.
Lance earned a B.S. in economics and marketing, cum laude, from Boston College and an MBA from Harvard Business School (’78), where he was awarded two academic scholarships. He was raised in Tokyo and is an active volunteer in several non-profit organizations including the Harvard Business School Club of NY, the Harvard Business School Association of Orange County and as a Council Member on the U.S.-Japan Council.
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