The ride-hailing startup, billed as the most valuable private company in 2017, has been facing seemingly insurmountable hurdles. Its culture needs retooling. It's slogging through several allegations. Its boss was dismissed late June. Presently, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is looking into the company's alleged bribery practices. Khosrowshahi, no doubt, has his work cut out for him.
'I'm Scared': Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's New CEO
"I have to tell you I am scared. I've been here at Expedia for so long that I've forgotten what life is like outside this place," Khosrowshahi wrote to his staff at Expedia. "But the times of greatest learning for me have been when I've been through big changes, or taken on new roles — you have to move out of your comfort zone and develop muscles that you didn't know you had."
That's fair. There's plenty of reason for any executive to be scared at occupying the highest seat in a company teeming with crises.
Uber's search for a new CEO was storied. Many high-profile executives were believed to be taking interest in the position, but it ultimately went to Khosrowshahi. Uber offered the new gig on Sunday, Aug. 27. He has since been negotiating his contract, as Recode reports.
Khosrowshahi held an all-hands meeting on Aug. 30, discussing a number of things, including plans to go public in 18 to 36 months, as per The Information's Amir Efrati. That's at least the given period given how things look now, but Khosrowshahi said "we'll have to see."
Paying The Bills, Making Big Bets, And Fixing The Culture
He will officially start on Sept. 5, but he has already clued his employees in on what to expect with him at the helm. He said his first goal is to "pay the bills," focus on the core business, and then "take big shots" to get business going.
Khosrowshahi didn't shy on mentioning Uber's existing cultural and workplace problems. He discussed the importance of culture, and said how people feel about their team will determine how happy they are. The culture needs to be written from the bottom up, he said, instead of being pushed down from the top.
"This company has to change. What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level."
Aside from paying the bills, it's safe to assume that one of Khosrowshahi's foremost goals will be finding executives to fulfill key roles. Uber has operated for many months without a CFO, CMO, COO, and a number of senior vice presidents.
Finally, Khosrowshahi reassured his employees that he'll be able to handle Uber's current maelstrom.
"I am a fighter. I'm all in. I will fight with every bone in my body," he said.
Finally, no meeting is complete without a selfie:
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) August 30, 2017