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Home / Business / About CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reflects over a year in the business

About CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reflects over a year in the business



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About CEO Dara Khosrowshahi smiles at the VivaTech (Viva Technology) show in Paris, on May 24, 2018.

About CEO Dara Khosrowshahi does not believe in regret, but like him in his first The year in which he runs the company, he sees one thing he would like to change faster.

Uber's culture had to be overhauled urgently when Khosrowshahi took over the job. He has made progress, but in an interview with CNNMoney before his one-year anniversary, Khosrowshahi said, "If there is one area where I would like to change faster, then it must better implement our cultural transformation, internally, across all levels Company. "

" It will never be done, "he said. "It's a perpetual exercise, and if I talk to you next year, I hope I'm still on the exercise while I'm at it."

It was a year ago Monday when word leaked that Khosrowshahi had passed a comfortable gig as an Expedia boss to lead the then dysfunctional technology company. Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick had messed up so many things that the board finally threw him out four months after the harassment and claims of sexism shook the company.

Khosrowshahi arrived on September 5 for his first official working day with a massive to-do list. Uber faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. It was involved in a dirty lawsuit with Waymo. Several executive functions were free, his drivers were on the brink of revolt and their losses widened.

Khosrowshahi told CNNMoney that last year has been such a hurricane that it feels as though he is celebrating his one-month anniversary and not marking the course of an entire year.

"It was filled with good days and bad days," he said. "The good news is that the good days have outnumbered the bad days lately, but I have not come up with a light ride, it was just as challenging as I expected."

Perhaps the most pressing task that Khosrowshahi had to overcome was the transformation of corporate culture and the abolition of Kalanick's "all-goes-to-cost-of-cost" ethos. He said Uber has made "tremendous progress" when it comes, for example, to the attitude towards regulators.

Early in his tenure, he revised the company's cultural norms by dismissing "Always Be Hustlin" and "Superpumped" in favor of "Customer Obsessed" and "We Do The Right Thing."

Related: Do you want to ride a bicycle instead? Uber agrees

"We have not made these standards an everyday reality at all levels of the business, and while we have seen progress, it is not work," he said.

This was underlined by Liane Hornsey, Uber's Human Resources Manager, in July after she internally investigated how she dealt with racial discrimination in the company. In her farewell e-mail to the staff, Hornsey did not turn to the probe. Uber confirmed an investigation but did not want to elaborate on the claims against her.

And several employees have expressed concerns over Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford over alleged racist insensitive comments. Harford, who worked with Khosrowshahi on Expedia, stays with Uber. In a memo to colleagues with CNNMoney in July, Harford described allegations as "painful" and said he was "embarrassed". He promised to work with a coach who could challenge his "blind spots".

Such things leave some critics of Uber skeptical of claims that Khosrowshahi has taken enough influence. "We were very critical of Uber and we maintain that position," said Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of Anita Borg Institute (AnitaB.org) to CNNMoney.

AnitaB.org hosts the annual Grace Hopper Conference, the largest gathering of women in computing. In addition, the company works with more than 70 companies to recruit, protect women in technology, and create an inclusive workforce.

The company initially worked with Uber in 201

5, but during the company's turbulence in 2017 under the leadership of Kalanick, it reduced the company's collaboration.

Wilkerson attributes some important steps to Khosrowshahi, including hiring the company's first Diversity and Inclusion Officer and achieving equality and racial equality.

Uber finally hires a Chief Financial Officer as he prepares IPO

Uber has revalued employee salaries after the bonuses were paid in March to assure all employees – regardless of gender or race – are paid in the role equally due to their location, job and term of office.

In April, when Uber published its latest Diversity Report, Khosrowshahi emphasized that the company needed to investigate or recruit a broader leader.

Uber also agreed a $ 10 million agreement earlier this year on harassment and discrimination against women and minority engineers.

Cultural change is not the only challenge for Khosrowshahi. He still has to deal with security issues and a growing wave of regulatory struggles and continue his efforts to diversify Uber's business ahead of an anticipated IPO in 2019.

Regulatory challenges pose a significant threat to the company's growth. London threatened not to renew Uber's license to operate, only to give in when Khosrowshahi made several concessions, including passing on the company's traffic data. More importantly, Khosrowshahi acknowledged past mistakes and weaknesses – something Kalanick was not aware of.

"He almost reverently went down this second path," said Tony Travers, a government professor at the London School of Economics, CNNMoney.

Khosrowshahi emphasized that the first step in dealing with cities and regulators is "to come into the room and engage in dialogue." We engage in an ongoing dialogue with all the cities we work with and the regulators we work with. " "

" We want to be seen as a partner that is part of the solution, "he added.

Related: Uber will no longer force victims of sexual coercion into arbitration

That has in New York does not work so well Earlier this month, the city, Uber's largest US market, introduced a temporary cap on the number of new vehicle rental permits as it researches ways to reduce congestion, and legislation could encourage other cities to follow suit They are trying to curb passenger companies facing increased bottlenecks, even though they have revolutionized transportation.

"We do not believe the city council has come to the right conclusion, but we will not Continue to comment, "Khosrowshahi said.

Bradley Tusk, a Uber Investor and former Regulatory Advisor to the Company, said there ss Khosrowshahi's conflict avoidance approach "made the loss in New York almost inevitable". CNNMoney could be "a sign of coming political problems".

"They led a very risk-averse, lukewarm campaign that did not cause any trouble, but also had no chance of winning," he added, while Khosrowshahi did a good job of "calming things down."

Khosrowshahi stressed that the company will continue to work to improve the experience of drivers and drivers in New York and to ensure that the service is accessible to customers who have no access to public transport. By encouraging customers to use alternative means of transport, the company can also come into contact with cities and government agencies: it could help to reduce traffic congestion.

Under Khosrowshahi, Uber has expanded beyond its core ride-hailing service into other means of transport such as bicycles and scooters.

Related: Uber oversees drivers in real-time on crime

"Uber is not a one-touch company. We are a selection of different companies with different maturities and growth profiles," he said. "We want to be your everyday use case to get from A to B."

Uber carved a new modality unit at the beginning of the summer. The department includes alternative offers from Uber. Uber launched an e-bike option in San Francisco in February and has since expanded its offer to a handful of other American cities. In April, the company acquired the electric bike startup Jump Bikes. E-scooters also come to the Uber app in San Francisco, as well as in other cities. It is also planned to integrate city bus and subway systems into its app.

Uber's new CFO, Nelson Chai, is tasked with expanding the company's core business, as well as the "Big Bold Bets" involving scooters and motorcycles. Although they take "years to mature" and will suffer losses in the near future, they will bring in "billions of revenue on maturity," Khosrowshahi said. "The focus and weight of our efforts will be on innovation – not innovation for a wonderful prototype, but innovation for scale."

"We have a lot of work to do," he added. "I think we can say that Uber is a lot more solid a year later."

CNNMoney (New York) First published August 29, 2018: 12:01 ET


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