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Uber’s CEO almost said no to the job until Spotify’s CEO urged him to accept it

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recalled the incident during an interview with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky.

January 29, 2023 / 04:57 PM IST
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek

When Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was first approached to lead the company in 2017, he ignored the call. It was a time when the rideshare app was going through a “historically difficult time".

“When I first got the call, my first thought was, ‘Heck no,’” Khosrowshahi told LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky in a recent interview. “I thought, ‘Why would I ever do that?’”

In 2017, Uber was facing multiple problems, including sexual harassment allegations, an FBI probe, and a slew of firings related to a workplace culture investigation, CNBC Make It reported.

Also, Khosrowshahi wasn’t in the market for a new job, either. At the time, he had completed 11 years as Expedia’s CEO, and was still “having a great time,” he told Roslansky. So, he was prepared to call Uber’s board of directors and take himself out of the running for CEO until a friend changed his mind -- Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify.

Khosrowshahi revealed during the interview that it was Ek himself who had recommended him for the job, the publication reported.

Read more: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek renews attack on Apple after Elon Musk's salvo

When Dara Khosrowshahi told Daniel Ek that he was not really interested in joining Uber because he was happy at Expedia, Ek told him something that he could not disregard. “Daniel looked at me with his cold, Scandinavian eyes and said, ‘You know Dara, since when is life about being happy? It’s about having impact. You have to make an impact,’” Khosrowshahi said.

He added that the conversation made him rethink what he wanted out of his career and Khosrowshahi realised that steering Uber through its string of crises, would allow him to have an “outsized impact” on the world.

The following morning, he called the head hunter, and in August 2017, he was announced as Uber’s new CEO.

Read more: Uber CEO says this is the career mistake youngsters must avoid

Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 29, 2023 04:52 pm