New Uber CEO promises change, sees IPO in 18-36 months

By Heather Somerville and Tom Hals

SAN FRANCISCO/GEORGETOWN, Del. (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees on Wednesday the ride-services company would change its culture and may go public in 18 to 36 months.

Khosrowshahi, who led travel-booking site Expedia Inc for 12 years, made the remarks as he introduced himself to Uber’s workforce on Wednesday during an all-staff meeting at its San Francisco headquarters.

His plans include rebuilding Uber’s culture and growing market share as well as possibly conducting an initial public offering in 18 to 36 months, according to people who attended the meeting. It is common for venture capital-backed companies to signal an IPO at a vague time in the future.

“This company has to change,” Khosrowshahi told employees, according to the Twitter feed of Uber’s communications team. “What got us here is not what’s going to get us to the next level.”

Khosrowshahi said Uber needed to stabilise itself but also take what he called “big shots.”

The appointment of Khosrowshahi, who described himself as “a fighter,” comes as Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises that culminated in the ouster of its former CEO Travis Kalanick in June. It is also a key step towards filling a gaping hole in its top management that at the moment has no chief financial officer, head of engineering or general counsel.

In his first meeting with Uber employees, Khosrowshahi emphasized recruiting new talent – particularly a chief financial officer – as well as a chairman to help him run the board, according to tweets from Uber.

BOARD DYSFUNCTION

Khosrowshahi inherits a dysfunctional board that has been divided by a lawsuit filed by investor Benchmark Capital against Kalanick. The lawsuit, which seeks to force Kalanick off the board and rescind his ability to fill two board seats, has caused shareholder infighting and complicated the CEO search.

Delaware judge Sam Glasscock on Wednesday brought that…

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