Uber is considering General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt as a candidate to replace Travis Kalanick, one source close to the company said on Thursday. The San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing giant has been searching for a new CEO ever since Kalanick resigned his position in late June, and recent reports indicated that the firm is currently considering half a dozen candidates that it identified with the help from Heidrick & Struggles, a Chicago, Illinois-based firm specializing in executive search. Heidrick & Struggles is said to be assisting several of the company's board members in the search for a new CEO, with the group reportedly consisting of Arianna Huffington, Wan Ling Martello, Matt Cohler, David Trujillo, and Kalanick himself, industry insiders previously said.
Apart from Immelt, Uber was also reportedly considering Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman as Kalanick's replacement, albeit Whitman publicly stated that she isn't interested in leaving her current employer on several occasions. The identities of the other four candidates that are supposedly Uber's top picks to lead the company haven't been revealed so far. Immelt and Uber's Directors have already held several rounds of talks on the matter, according to a source familiar with the negotiations who added that GE CEO is set to leave his post at the company by the end of the month and will only serve as the firm's Chairman until 2018. It's currently unclear whether Immelt has ambitions to stay at GE post-2017 and how close he is to joining Uber. The talks held with Immelt are understood to have been informal in nature and neither party has yet issued a comment on the matter in any official capacity.
Despite being the world's most valuable startup with a valuation of approximately $70 billion, Uber is still a significantly smaller company than GE in terms of revenue. Regardless, Immelt may be interested in the position due the possibility of a single massive payout that he could receive if Uber eventually decides to file for an initial public offering (IPO), sources speculate, noting how GE's top executive still isn't likely to retire come next year and will be looking for new challenges.