Uber’s big investment in brand turnaround

Dara Khosrowshahi via Tech Crunch/Getty

Uber just announced Dara Khosrowshahi is joining as CEO after leading a turnaround at Expedia for the last 12 years. The ride-sharing firm is apparently providing one of the largest pay packages ever for a new CEO, which demonstrates the value corporations place on turnarounds in our fast-paced, results-oriented marketplace.

And Uber’s brand needs a turnaround — if not in revenue, then in culture and spirit, given #DeleteUber, et al. As CNET quotes Brian Solis, principal analyst for Altimeter Group, “Khosrowshahi faces a great and surmountable task of righting a ship rife with internal and external challenges.”

Khosrowshahi’s success at Expedia suggests he can deliver. In his 12 years as CEO, the travel conglomerate grew revenue from $2.1 billion in in 2005 to $8.7 billion in 2016. Perhaps more important, he’s a beloved leader. Expedia employees gave Khosrowshahi a 93% approval rating on Glassdoor — the highest of any CEO in 2017.

A turnaround at Uber will boil down to culture and communication. And “the beautiful thing about culture is it’s a living, breathing organism,” notes Francis Frei, who joined Uber from HBS back in June.