Uber advanced technologies group. Image courtesy of Uber.
Leading decision-making and changes at Uber is no easy feat.
Since its founding in March 2009, the global transportation company has been plagued with controversy -- from underpaying drivers to sexual assault allegations, and the list goes on. Recently, the ridesharing platform made headlines for driver shortages that have caused extreme surges in the price of its services.
But despite the criticism, the company is extremely well funded by private and public investors and has undeniably made our lives simpler. And it’s not resting on its laurels.
The Org took a look into the executive team at Uber and the key players who will be leading the changes and determining the future of the ridesharing giant.
Currently, the big boss at Uber is Dara Khosrowshahi. Khosrowshahi replaced Travis Kalanick as Uber’s CEO in 2017, following a series of privacy scandals and sexual harassment complaints. Previously the CEO of Expedia, Khosrowshahi leads Uber’s global team that spans 63 countries and has over 22,000 employees. A graduate of Brown University, the executive has previously served as VP of Allen & Company and CFO of IAC Travel.
The 2017 scandals led to a forced cultural transformation within the company. In January 2018, the company hired Bo Young Lee as its first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Lee’s role in the company is to build a diverse and inclusive work culture. The NYU Stern Graduate previously served as Marsh and McLennan’s first Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer and served as a diversity consultant for multiple clients, including Marriott, Discover and Aon.
Perhaps one of the most high-profile executives in the Uber leadership team is Tony West. Married to the younger sister of Vice President Kamala Harris, West currently holds the position of Chief Legal Officer at Uber. Over a 30 year career, West has served in private practice, government and now Silicon Valley. Notably, he has served as the Corporate Secretary and EVP of Public Policy and Government Affairs at PepsiCo and as an Associate Attorney General of the United States. The Harvard graduate previously ran for political office, but was unsuccessful.
The pandemic resulted in over $6.77 billion in losses for Uber in 2020. In fact, since going public in 2019, the ridesharing platform has not yet turned profitable. Despite this, the company is confident it will be profitable in the next year. Overlooking the company’s finances is CFO Nelson Chai. Chai joined Uber in August 2018, after serving as President at CIT group. He has also worked as the CFO of Merrill Lynch and NYSE Euronext. The executive holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard.
Heading the engineering teams globally is CTO Sukumar Rathnam. Rathnam replaced long-serving top executive Thuan Pham in 2020 after the company began to shift its focus to prioritize its food delivery platform during the pandemic. A previous Amazon executive, who served as VP for Product Selection and Catalogs, Sukumar has spent many years working as a software engineer and held leadership positions at companies including Microsoft and Oracle.
Chief Product Officer Sundeep Jain manages Uber’s relatively seamless user experience. Jain is a recent addition to Uber’s executive team. He joined the company after Daniel Danker, who helped grow the company’s food delivery business, was poached by Instacart. In his role at Uber, Jain has helped deliver new features that allow users to book vaccination appointments and reserve rental cars. The executive served as VP of PM at Google for Search Ads and has also served as a VP of game developer Zynga. He has a Bachelor of Science from Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard.
Many companies are currently questioning how the office space will look post-pandemic. For Uber, this decision falls under its Chief People Officer, Nikki Krishnamurthy. Recently the company announced it would embrace a hybrid working model, allowing employees to work from home for two days a week starting in September 2021. Krishnamurthy joined Uber in October 2018 and has served in similar roles at Expedia, WaMu and PNC Financial Services.
As Uber continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic and expand its services, the leadership team and the decisions they make will be critical to its survival and future direction.
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