The above video features audio of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick introducing his successor, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Audio of Khosrowshahi is embedded lower in this post.
Uber held an all-hands meeting on Wednesday, during which former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick introduced his successor, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
A source at the meeting leaked audio exclusively to Yahoo Finance, revealing several memorable moments. Those included Kalanick shedding tears as he kicked off the all-hands, Khosrowshahi discussing how the Uber CEO role came his way, and the “three things” all Uber employees should know about him from the get-go.
“He believed in the mission,” Kalanick explained of Khosrowshahi. “He believed in the great people we have gathered for these game-changing efforts that we call Uber. That’s why we kept getting up, and that’s how we get through the hard part of the journey. It’s how we get to the next one.”
Khosrowshahi, for his part, explained how the Uber CEO role came his way, which began over cocktails with a friend of his, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. It was Ek who apparently recommended Khosroshahi for the Uber CEO role.
“Daniel Ek looks at me and says, ‘Dara, do you want to be happy? Or do you want to change the world?'” he explained during the all-hands. “So the next day, I called the head hunter back.”
Khosrowshahi, 48, ended his introductory speech with “three things” every Uber employee should know about him:
‘I am going to be totally transparent with you’
“I am going to be totally transparent with you. I am not going to bullshit you. The thing I’ve found in life is that the higher up you get in an organization,” he said, “the less you know about what’s going on because people start holding back.”
Khosrowshahi added: “The only way that I seem to combat that is to be absolutely honest with you, and to be completely straight and authentic with you. Hopefully that will allow me to deserve the same right back from you. I am not going to bullshit you, and I would ask that you not bullshit me.”
‘I’ll fight with you’
“I’m a fighter, and I’ll fight with you,” he said. “I don’t really like these war metaphors, kind of these male metaphors. We’re in a battle here. I think everybody knows it. Just know that I’m here. I’ve made the decision. I am all in, and I am going to fight for you with every bone in my body. And I hope you’ll join me in that battle.”
‘Everyone is going to participate and contribute in their own way’
“I will know that I succeeded here if everybody in this room and who’s watching over the world knows that they can contribute to the success of Uber in their own way. Because everyone’s different. Everyone has their own skill sets if you’re numerative, if you’ve got a higher EQ, if you’re here in the US or if you’re here in a global office, if you’re a dev, in you’re in marketing, if you’re in PR, or if you’re Ops.”
He continued. “Regardless of your gender or your beliefs, etc. everyone is going to participate and contribute in their own way. And if everyone thinks they can and can be themselves, but they can also be Uber, then I know I’ve succeeded. That’s my goal.”
Khosrowshahi also explained during an employee Q&A portion that Expedia’s new CEO would be disclosed on Wednesday. (Expedia announced later on Wednesday that CFO Mark Okersterom would be the company’s new CEO, succeeding Khosrowshahi.)
The dark horse
Khosrowshahi was the dark horse in the competition for Uber’s next CEO, given numerous news reports pegged two other CEO candidates — GE chairman Jeff Immelt and Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO Meg Whitman — as front runners. Khosrowshahi’s name also remained a well-kept secret during the two months of discussions and deliberations among Uber’s board members.
But of the three candidates, Khosrowshahi may well be the best suited to steer Uber in the months and years ahead. During his 12 years as Expedia’s chief executive, he grew the business from $2.1 billion in annual revenues on $15 billion in gross bookings in 2005 to $8.7 billion in annual revenues on $72.4 billion in gross bookings in 2016. Khosrowshahi also led the acquisitions of the $1.3 billion merger with rival travel business Orbitz in 2015, as well as the $3.9 billion purchase of HomeAway that same year. All in all, Expedia’s stock more than tripled during his tenure.
With Uber, Khosrowshahi inherits an embattled company rocked by months of scandal involving alleged sexual harassment in the workplace and questionable workplace practices. A legal battle with self-driving company Waymo, spun out by Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in late 2016, also looms large.
Khosrowshahi’s official first day with Uber is Tuesday, September 5.
This post has been updated to include Okersterom’s appointment as Expedia’s new CEO. A previous version of the story indicated that Khosrowshahi could potentially bring Okersterom over to Uber.
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