With Uber facing a real mash up between brand image, finances and ethics, its former CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down following differences in his style of management as well as bungling ethics and management policies. Dara Khosrowshahi, 48, has joined Uber as it’s new Chief Executive Officer, and is the sole force driving Expedia from ground zero to the Galaxy.
Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia for 12 years, which is based in Bellevue, Washington & Khosrowshahi himself has spent his tech career as part of the Seattle’s technology arena instead of that of the famed Silicon Valley. Since both regions are powerhouses in the tech industry, there’s also an obvious rivalry existing between them.
But first of all, let’s all see who Dara Khosrowshahi is and where he comes from? =)
Dara Khosrowshahi was born on May 28, 1969, in Tehran, Iran to a prominent family that established the Alborz Investment Company, a diversified conglomerate dealing in pharmaceuticals, food, distribution, trading, packaging and services. Iranian Canadian billionaire Hassan Khosrowshahi is his relative. Dara’s family emigrated to the United States in 1978, prior to the Islamic Revolution of Iran which saw most of his family’s assets get illegally seized by the new Iranian government. He eventually settled with his family in Tarrytown, New York and graduated from the Hackley School at the age of 18 with a high school diploma. In 1991, he graduated with a B.A in electrical engineering from Brown University.
Dara Khosrowshahi recalls how he and his family had to emigrate: “Our family escaped Iran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution in 1978, when I was 9. We moved in with my uncle in Tarrytown. For the grown-ups, it was a difficult transition. The kids were able to party together, so it was fun.”
He also recalled about his father going back to Iran to care for his grandfather and returning back after a long time: “My father had to go back to Iran to take care of his father when I was 13 and was detained for six years before returning. My mom was raising three kids without a dad.”
Dara Khosrowshahi began working as an Analyst at Allen & Company, an Investment bank and he left that in 1998 to work for one of his former clients Barry Diller, first at USA Networks and then at IAC as it’s Chief Financial Officer. It was in 2001 that IAC Travel acquired Expedia & in August 2005, Khosrowshahi was promoted as the CEO of Expedia. It was during his tenure that Expedia grew and expanded presence in more than 60 countries around the globe, Hotels.com, Hotwire online booking brands, and the travel community sites of TripAdvisor Media Network. In 2015, Expedia awarded him USD$ 90 million in stock options as a part of a long term employment agreement, where he stated that he would stay until 2020. Dara Khosrowshahi has had quite an impressive and respectable tenure at Expedia, growing revenues from USD$ 2.1 billion in 2005 to USD$ 8.7 billion in 2016, turning Expedia in one of the biggest online travel agencies in the U.S.A and owning sites like hotels.com, Orbitz, Trivago, HomeAway, Travelocity as well as other sites for vacation rentals, car rentals as well as other travel & vacation related sites as well.
The Economist revealed that during Khosrowshahi’s tenure, the gross value of Expedia’s hotel and travel booking related services multiplied more than 5 times and the pre tax earnings multiplied as well. In 2016, He was one of the highest paid CEO’s in the U.S.A, and is a board member from BET.com, Hotels.com, New York Times Company, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and other companies as well. He has been praised by the New York Times company for his competitive tech based mindset and for his comprehensive digital & international experience coupled with his financial expertise. He has also been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s anti immigrant policies and rhetoric.
He married Sydney Shapiro in 2012, in Las Vegas and is father to four children with her. In his words: “My wife and I got married on 12/12/12 in Las Vegas, and she was wearing a Slayer T-shirt. That tells you what kind of woman I’m lucky enough to be with. We have four kids.”
In June 2013, Ernst & Young recognized Dara Khosrowshahi as a Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year award recipient. He is among the U.S State Department’s List of Prominent Iranian Americans.
Given the controversies, unethical practices and problems Uber is currently mired in, We are hopeful that Dara Khosrowshahi will turn the company around =)
All the best Dara!