Saudi-backed Uber officially welcomes new CEO

Dara Khosrowshahi built Expedia into the largest online travel agency by bookings. (Reuters)
Updated 30 August 2017

Saudi-backed Uber officially welcomes new CEO

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber officially welcomed its new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who has led online travel business Expedia Inc. for 12 years, in a note sent to employees of the world’s biggest ride-services company late on Tuesday.
The board had already selected Khosrowshahi as Uber’s next CEO in a vote on Sunday, but the firm and its board had not spoken publicly on the decision until Tuesday evening Pacific Time, as contract negotiations were ongoing.
Khosrowshahi’s appointment comes at a time when 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 toward filling a gaping hole in its top management, which at the moment has no chief financial officer, head of engineering or general counsel.
“The board and the executive leadership team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future,” Uber’s eight-member board wrote in an e-mail to employees that was also made public.
Khosrowshahi e-mailed Expedia staff that he had accepted the job of Uber CEO, albeit “with truly mixed feelings.”
“This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life,” he said in his e-mail.
Over his tenure, Khosrowshahi built Expedia into the largest online travel agency by bookings and its stock price grew more than six-fold since he became CEO in 2005.
“I have to tell you that I’m scared,” he wrote in the note, which was shared with Reuters. “I’ve been here at Expedia for so long that I’ve forgotten what life is outside of this place.”
He will join San Francisco-based Uber’s all-hands staff meeting Wednesday to take questions from employees, board members said in their e-mail. He will also over the next few weeks meet with employees around the world and with drivers.
Khosrowshahi, 48, is an Iranian immigrant who came to the US with his parents in 1978 during the Iranian Revolution. He is described by those who know him as a friendly and steady hand, savvy businessman and calming influence in situations of chaos.
And chaos certainly awaits him at Uber.
He inherits at Uber a high-stakes lawsuit filed by Alphabet’s Waymo that threatens Uber’s self-driving car business, a board divided by one investor’s lawsuit against Kalanick, and an organization struggling to overcome allegations of sexual harassment and executive misconduct.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund invested $3.5 billion in Uber in 2016.


Saudi finance minister reassures public on taxes

Updated 5 min 34 sec ago

Saudi finance minister reassures public on taxes

  • Mohammed Al-Jadaan: There will be no more fees and taxes until after the financial, economic and social impacts have been considered carefully
  • The government expects to generate about SR203 billion in taxes this year – more than 20.5 percent higher than the previous year

RIYADH: Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan pledged that there would be no more taxes or fees introduced in the Kingdom until the social and economic impact of such a move had been fully reviewed.

He was speaking at the 2020 Budget Meeting Sessions, organized by the Ministry of Finance and held in Riyadh on Tuesday, where a number of ministers and senior officials gathered following the publication of the budget on Monday evening.

“There will be no more fees and taxes until after the financial, economic and social impacts have been considered carefully, especially in terms of economic competitiveness,” said Al-Jadaan.

The government expects to generate about SR203 billion in taxes this year – more than 20.5 percent higher than the previous year and more than 10 percent higher than the expected budget for this year. 

Most of that increase has come from taxes on goods and services which rose substantially as a result of the improvement in economic activity over the year.

The reassurances from the minister come as the Saudi budget deficit is estimated to widen to about SR187 billion, next year, or about 6.4 percent of GDP.