Look, we all know that taxis, as we know them, are kind of a dying industry.
And nobody’s done more to drive nails into that traditional business coffin than Uber. But they’ve had a rough go of it recently.
The troubles started in February when US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick, who was on one of Trump’s advisory committee’s was accused of breaking a strike by taxi drivers protesting the executive order. In retaliation more than 200,000 Uber subscribers deleted ride hailing app.Then came a blog from an ex-Uber programmer Susan Fowler about the sexual harassment women regularly face in the company. To cap it all, Kalanick was caught on camera insulting an Uber driver late last month. His words, “some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” during a heated debate with the driver Fawzi Kamel, created a stir on the social media.
Yikes. But wait! There’s more!
Uber has faced lawsuits that involve hundreds of assaults by its drivers. For its part, the company last year said it had received 175 complaints of sexual assault including five rape accusations between 2013 and 2015. Black customers complain they are made to wait for relatively longer when they book a ride and are often rejected, according to a study. Uber is also under pressure to run fingerprinted background check on its drivers to weed out people with a criminal history – something the company resists.
So the company is under a little pressure.
Time for a new savior!
Uber, Dara. Dara, Uber.
Uber’s search for a replacement for its former co-founder CEO Travis Kalanick looks to have reached its conclusion. Dara Khosrowshahi, the current CEO of Expedia, has been officially offered the job, multiple sources close to the company confirmed to TechCrunch.Unlike higher-profile Uber CEO candidates Meg Whitman of HP and Jeff Immelt of GE, Khosrowshahi is fairly under the radar. That’s likely because Expedia isn’t based in Silicon Valley, it’s in Bellevue, Washington, and it has led to some surprise over the decision to select Khosrowshahi as Uber’s next leader. That’s assuming that he accepts the role, of course.
So who is Dara Khosrowshahi?
Khosrowshahi was born in Iran in 1969, but he emigrated to the U.S. as a child in 1978 following the Iranian Revolution. His father was detained by Iranian authorities for six years after he returned to the country to look after his father when Khosrowshahi was aged 13. Khosrowshahi grew up in the New York State area with his mother and two brothers. After graduating with an electrical engineering degree from Brown University, Khosrowshahi joined Allen and Co as an analyst in 1991. His move into travel came when he joined USA Networks (now IAC) in 1998 and the company went on to acquire a majority stake in Expedia, then a subsidiary of Microsoft, in 2001 at a valuation of around $2 billion.
So is this the guy who can save Uber and continue to crush the taxi industry, driving their cabs in front of him and hearing the lamentations of their medallion holders?