Home / News / World /  ‘Heck no!’: CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's first response when he got job offer from Uber. What happens next?

‘Heck no!’ is what Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said when he first got the job offer from rideshare app. This was in 2017 when Uber was going through ‘historically difficult time’.

In a recent interview with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, he explained why he decided to join Uber after spending 12 years at Expedia as CEO, and other aspects of business and life.

Read the full interview here:

Dara spent over a decade as CEO of Expedia, before he got the call from Uber at a time when the company’s reputation had been dragged down from controversies largely of its own making. His response to the offer to join as CEO went from “Heck, no! Why would I ever do that?" to eventually making a bold move to take on the cleanup process. That’s just one of several twists and turns in Dara’s career that he could not have predicted. I personally know Dara as a compassionate leader. He’s also a truly authentic human being. He brought those qualities and more to our conversation.

Even a preordained path can change

Dara told me that as a child in Iran, his career path was predetermined. Family, education and the right kind of job were the priorities laid out for him. It was understood that he would work for his family’s business. That was the direction he was headed until the Iranian revolution interrupted the plan and threw him off course when he was only 9 years old. His family lost everything and was forced to leave the country.

By the time he was in college, Dara was living in the United States and studying bio-electrical engineering, a subject that straddled his dream of being an engineer and his father’s hope of him being a doctor.

So even the most concrete plan can get redirected by something unexpected and out of our control.

Sometimes you get redirected by romance

When Dara graduated from college his well-planned path included a job in engineering. He started out with a role as an engineering manager. But here’s the part where he meets someone, falls in love and his plan gets derailed. It’s an age-old story. You can probably guess how this goes. She was in New York City. So Dara moved to New York and joined his brother at an investment banking firm.

Eventually Dara decided that banking, and the shorter-term projects he worked on, wasn’t fulfilling. He was more interested in a long-term commitment and working with a team. He wanted to build something great.

“Greatness takes time."

Media mogul Barry Diller was also a catalyst in Dara’s career. They met when Barry was Dara’s client at the banking firm. Dara admired him and jumped at the chance to work with him on new ventures like the acquisition of companies like Ticketmaster and Expedia.

Dara was asked to step in as CEO of Expedia where he spent 12 years (a pretty ong tenure for a CEO) making his mark as one of the most impactful CEOs in the country. He acquired competing companies and built Expedia up to be one of the top two companies in the industry. By then he was more than settled in and comfortable in his role. And that’s when he got the call from Uber.

It’s been five years since Dara took the reins at Uber. He led the company through its IPO and expanded into new verticals. He brought his compassion and authenticity and set the tone to completely transform the culture. The risks he took paid off but those achievements took time.

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