Uber's new CFO suggested that an IPO might not happen in 2019 after all

Chris Trotman/Getty Images For NASCARNelson Chai, pictured in 2007.
  • Incoming Uber CFO Nelson Chai has suggested the company might not go public in 2019.
  • The $US69 billion transportation firm has been aiming for a 2019 IPO for a while – Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi even reiterated that plan earlier this year.
  • But Chai said that “I can’t say I’m on board yet with going public next year,” suggesting there may be further delays.

Uber’s incoming chief financial officer CFO Nelson Chai has suggested the transportation firm may not go public in 2019 after all.

On Tuesday, Uber announced that it had appointed Chai, a Wall Street veteran, to the long-vacant post of CFO as it gears up for a long-awaited IPO in 2019, a stated goal of the company. But speaking to Axios, the new executive implied that the timing of the IPO wasn’t a done deal just yet.

“The company has made comments about it, but I can’t say I’m on board yet with going public next year,” he said. “I’ve been impressed with the information I’ve seen, but I don’t have enough insight until I really get in there to make sure we have the right processes and controls to be a public company.”

Reached for comment, Uber spokesperson Matt Kallman downplayed Chai’s remarks and said Uber is still “on track” to go public in 2019.

“As you might expect (and hope), Nelson was taking a conservative approach in his first interviews, as he hasn’t started yet (his first day is Sep 10),” he told Business Insider in an email. “We’re on track for an IPO next year.”

Uber has been working hard to resuscitate its public image in recent months, after a chain of bruising scandals – from a culture of sexism to allegations of trade secret theft – that culminated in an executive exodus and the ousting of founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick.

Kalanick’s replacement as CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is attempting to right the ship, and said the company is aiming to go public in 2019 as recently as May of this year.

“I’m incredibly excited to bring on someone as experienced and thoughtful as Nelson,”Khosrowshahi said in a statement when Chai’s hire was announced. “He will be a great partner for me and the entire management team as we move towards becoming a public company.”

With a $US69 billion valuation in its last venture capital investment round, Uber is the most valuable privately owned technology company in the word today, and investors have been awaiting the inevitable IPO for years.

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