The former management of Uber led by co-founder and ousted Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick took the company's aggressive approach to expansion "too far," new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on the stage of this year's iteration of the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany. The recently appointed head of the startup essentially reiterated his remarks from November when he opinioned the firm "went in a very bad direction" under Mr. Kalanick. Much like it was the case last fall, the 48-year-old vowed to do better than his predecessor and ensure Uber is pursuing sustainable growth going forward, in addition to leading a business that's both transparent and responsible.
The move is just the latest stop on Mr. Khosrowshahi's apology tour which started the moment he took over the troubled San Francisco, California-based company in late August. Since then, he traveled the world and encouraged an open dialogue with various regulators, many of which clashed with Uber on numerous occasions in the past and even opted to ban the company in their jurisdictions, as was the case with London, though Uber is still operating in the UK capital until the court addresses its appeal to the development or a settlement is reached. While Mr. Khosrowshahi started his CEO reign with an endorsement from Mr. Kalanick and a literal embrace, his rhetoric changed in a matter of weeks following a corporate power struggle at the company that saw its co-founder appoint two new directors to its board on his own. Mr. Khosrowshahi is now openly critical of Uber's old ways and is positioning himself as the polar opposite of that kind of management. To date, Uber has been the subject of at least a handful of federal investigations, most of which are still ongoing, and has been accused or nurturing a toxic working environment. The company is also amid a major legal battle with Alphabet's self-driving unit Waymo which accused it of trade secret theft. Constant clashes with regulators around the world over permits were widely reported in the past as well.
Due to the troubled state of the ride-hailing service provider, Mr. Khosrowshahi said he initially refused the Uber job but eventually decided to take up the offer and resign as the CEO of travel firm Expedia after Spotify founder Daniel Ek convinced him to move out of his comfort zone. Uber oversaw the largest private stock sale in the history of trading last week, with its early investors offloading approximately 15 percent of the firm to SoftBank for approximately $9.3 billion, not including $1.25 billion the Japanese tech giant injected directly into the startup. The company is presently targeting an initial public offering in 2019.