SAN FRANCISCO — Uber selected Dara Khosrowshahi, who leads the online travel company Expedia, to be its chief executive on Sunday, capping a contentious search process as the ride-hailing company seeks to move past a turbulent period.
Khosrowshahi emerged as the leading candidate from a field of three finalists over a weekend of Uber board meetings, according to two people with knowledge of the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential.
One finalist, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the former chief of General Electric, withdrew on Sunday when it became clear that he did not have enough support, said two people familiar with the process. The board had been leaning toward Meg Whitman, the chief of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the people said. But matters changed over the course of Sunday afternoon and the board decided on Khosrowshahi.
Uber and the board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Choosing Khosrowshahi is crucial to returning stability to Uber, the world’s biggest ride-hailing company, which has been without a leader since its co-founder, Travis Kalanick, stepped down from the CEO job under pressure on June 20. Under Kalanick, Uber changed the transportation landscape by offering people the ability to summon a ride through an app, and the privately held company swelled to a nearly $70 billion colossus.
But Uber’s future became murkier this year when the company was pummeled by scandal after scandal, including sexual harassment accusations in the workplace, a Department of Justice criminal investigation into some of its methods, and an intellectual property dispute with a self-driving car rival. While Uber’s business continued to grow, Kalanick’s management style faced scrutiny and investors mutinied against him.
How much of an impact Khosrowshahi can have on Uber is uncertain. The company still bears the imprint of Kalanick, who is on Uber’s board.
Khosrowshahi has been president and chief executive of Expedia since 2005. He is also on the board of The New York Times Co.
Running Uber will be no easy task. Even with Uber’s business growing and on a path toward a possible initial public offering, Khosrowshahi will have to disentangle the company’s workplace culture, legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny.