New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wants to take the taxi-hailing company public in the next 18-36 months, The Financial Times reports.
The former Expedia boss, who is set to take the helm at Uber next week, reportedly told Uber staff at a meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday that Uber needs to focus on “paying the bills” and regaining market share from rival Lyft.
Details of the potential initial public offering (IPO) are thin but an Uber listing would likely be one of the biggest technology IPOs of the decade.
Uber is currently the world’s most valuable private company with a valuation of $US68.5 billion (£53.1 billion). But the company has been marred by a series of scandals, ranging from allegations of sexual harassment to illegal taxi operations. Going public would in many ways make the company more accountable and help it to “grow up”.
Uber did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Leaked audio revealed how Dara Khosrowshahi got the Uber CEO job
Somewhat embarrassingly, an audio recording of Khosrowshahi’s first all hands talk was leaked by Yahoo News. In the speech, Khosrowshahi details how he landed the top job at Uber and what staff can expect from him. However, the recording does not contain any reference to the IPO.
“I’m not going to bullshit you and I will ask you not to bullshit me,” he told staff at Uber’s headquarters. “We’re in a battle here. I think everybody knows it. I’m here, I made the decision, I am all in, and I’m going to fight for you with every bone in my body.”
A headhunter for Uber contacted Khosrowshahi about the CEO job at some point in the last few months but he initially said he wasn’t interested.
However, Khosrowshahi explained that Spotify founder Daniel Ek convinced him that he should apply for the job over a drink at an investor conference.
Khosrowshahi said he met with every Uber board member during the interview process. He met Arianna Huffington, for example, at her “beautiful” apartment in New York City and had healthy Greek food with her.
Khosrowshahi went on to reveal how Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, who still sits on the board of Uber, persuaded him to leave Expedia and join Uber.
“He spun this web, this dream, of transforming cities and the transportation grid and deliveries and robots taking food from the street corner to the home. And it’s just this incredible vision. And I’m like: ‘Well I sell airline tickets and you can download them onto your phone.'”
Khosrowshahi also revealed how Kalanick insisted that all of their phone calls were carried out over FaceTime. “Travis has a weird obsession with FaceTime audio,” said Khosrowshahi. “I think he thinks that [Recode journalist] Kara Swisher has hacked into the cell network. Every time I called him he was like no we’re going to use FaceTime audio.”
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