Dara Khosrowshahi named new Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Uber

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 as a young boy

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 on extreme right, visiting London with his cousins in 1973

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.

Dara Khosrowshahi & his wife, Sydney Shapiro-Khosrowshahi in Las Vegas

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.

Dressed as Superhero Flash at an Expedia party, in 2014

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!

 

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My view on Renault-Nissan and Dongfeng partnering to build electric cars for China (Via TechCrunch)

I’ve never liked China that much, regardless of situation.

Written by Darrell Etherington:

Another major automaker is setting up a dedicated joint venture to build EVs for the growing demand in China, joining Ford and Volkswagen: This time, it’s Nissan-Renault, which will work with China’s Dongfeng Motor, an automaker it partnered with last year to open its first factory in China.

Automakers from outside China basically need a local dancing partner in order to make and sell vehicles in the country, without incurring huge import taxes that would basically render their operations unsustainable. Previously, automakers were limited to setting up two joint ventures with Chinese partners to produce cars in-country, but Beijing has allowed the creation of a third joint venture – provided it’s dedicated entirely to EVs.

Renault-Nissan’s new partnership with Dongfeng is called eGT New Energy Automotive Company, and it’ll be split between Nissan with 25 percent ownership, Renault with another 25, and Dongfeng with the remaining 50, according to Reuters. The first vehicle from the JV will be a new electric vehicle based on one of Renault-Nissan’s subcompact crossover SUV platform designs.

Automakers are racing to build out their EV construction and sales capacity in China thanks to strong incentives put in place by the Chinese government for the market. China is also enforcing strict quotas on overall vehicle sales, requiring that a full 8 percent of any automaker sales in the country be either pure electric or plug-in hybrid by 2018, with incremental increases in that percentage every year after that.

This could end up helping with electrification abroad, too, since it’ll help automakers reconfigure their operations to focus on developing EV tech and electric-specific vehicle designs.

My View:

Electric specific sounds futuristic, but let us reflect on the old days, especially the days of our schooling when we were told about CFC’s and their deadly effects on the Ozone layer as well as the carbon footprints from fossil fuels. Carbon footprints will be everywhere, whether we drive a car with fossil fuel, whether we use an LED TV or whether we drive a hybrid Toyota Prius.

Carbon footprints from fossil fuels contain carbon that is beneficial for the earth’s atmosphere and for the ozone layer as well. Carbon footprints from modern devices produce carbon that is not beneficial at all, and in fact can harm the atmosphere in serious ways. Of course, the world is advancing but these advances will render humans unemployed, hungry, desperate and destitute. Should we advance in technology? Let’s keep the new machines as simply drawing board concepts!

People’s Republic of China however, is in need of electric vehicles, given the fact that the level of pollution in the country is way out of bounds and way beyond normal levels. Another problem is that, the Chinese have recently discovered their new found wealth and that will cause a lot of problems. From ugly women rebranding their looks to women remaining single and independent, the mindset of the Chinese is clearly cloudy, murky and damaged. With the Communist Party of China remaining holed up in power, it is likely that China will turn into the world’s largest dump.