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Dara Khosrowshahi at the 2016 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire / Dan DeLong)

Uber made it official tonight, announcing longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its next leader, charging the veteran executive with mapping a new route for the ride-hailing giant after a series of unfortunate turns.

RELATED: Full email: New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tells Expedia team he’s scared and optimistic about role

“We’re really fortunate to gain a leader with Dara’s experience, talent and vision,” the Uber board said in an email to employees. “The Board and the Executive Leadership Team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future building world-class products, transforming cities, and adding value to the lives of drivers and riders around the world while continuously improving our culture and making Uber the best place to work.”

In an email to Expedia employees, obtained by GeekWire, Khosrowshahi called taking the job “one of the toughest decisions of my life,” with strong emotions after more than 12 years running the Bellevue, Wash.-based online travel company.

“I have to tell you that I’m scared. I’ve been here at Expedia for so long that I’ve forgotten what life is outside of this place,” he wrote. “But the times of greatest learning for me have been when I’ve been through big changes, or taken on new roles – you have to move out of your comfort zone and develop muscles that you didn’t know you had. I always tell people to look for a role where they, as an individual, can make a difference, at a company that is making a difference. I know I can look back at my work at Expedia and say mission accomplished. And I can look forward to Uber and know that I will make a difference, hopefully for the better.”

In a statement, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said, “I am excited to welcome Dara Khosrowshahi as Uber’s next CEO.”

“With a deep passion for team building, Dara grew Expedia into one of the world’s most successful travel and technology platforms,” Kalanick said in a statement. “Casting a vote for the next chief executive of Uber was a big moment for me and I couldn’t be happier to pass the torch to such an inspiring leader.”

As of Tuesday evening, Expedia had not yet issued a public statement about its plans to replace Khosrowshahi as CEO. In an email to Expedia employees Monday, after news of Uber’s choice leaked to the media, Expedia chairman Barry Diller praised Khosrowshahi and seemed to hint that the company would look internally for its next leader.

“If Dara does leave us, it will be to my great regret but also my blessing – he’s devoted 12 great years to building this Company and if this is what he wants for his next adventure it will be with my best wishes,” wrote Diller. “I say that because he deserves nothing less and I say that also because he will leave behind a tremendously talented corps of executives.”

Dara Khosrowshahi. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

News of Khosrowshahi’s selection came out Sunday evening in reports from The New York Times and Recode, and Expedia chairman Diller confirmed the offer in his message to employees, disclosed in an SEC filing.

During his 12-year tenure as CEO of Expedia Inc., Khosrowshahi has overseen a revitalization and dramatic expansion of the business, which began more than 21 years ago as a small Microsoft division. The company has been on an aggressive acquisition spree in recent years, gobbling up brands including Travelocity, Trivago and Orbitz to complement its flagship Expedia travel brand. Expedia also acquired HomeAway for $3.9 billion to more aggressively compete with Airbnb, like Uber an icon of the sharing economy.

Shares of Expedia are up more than 34 percent over the past year, and the company topped $8.7 billion in revenue in 2016, up from $6.7 billion the year before. The company posted $2.6 billion in revenue in the second quarter, up 18 percent, boosted by strong results from its and HomeAway operations.

Even though it is the most valuable startup in the world, Uber finds itself in a tough position. Its reputation was crippled by a series of scandals under Kalanick, the previous Uber CEO. Kalanick left in June, and the San Francisco-based company has been without a CEO since. Several top execs have also left in recent months; the company is without a COO, CFO, or CMO.

Those who know and have worked with Khosrowshahi told GeekWire that he is a great fit for the job, thanks to an “internal calm” that helps him manage strong personalities and plenty of experience navigating a complex industry.

Despite his success at Expedia, Khosrowshahi is a surprising selection as Uber CEO. Names floated during the process included Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who reportedly withdrew from consideration.

Though Khosrowshahi’s compensation package has not been released, Uber will most definitely be shelling out big bucks to lure the Expedia chief who was the highest-paid CEO in the S&P 500 in 2015. His compensation totaled $94.6 million, including a $1 million salary, $2.8 million bonus, and $90.8 million in stock options. Bloomberg Technology estimates that Khosrowshahi’s unvested stock options at Expedia are worth about $184 million and says it would cost at least $200 million to poach him.

Update: Uber held an all-hands meeting on Wednesday to introduce Khosrowshahi, who will start his new job next Tuesday. Uber’s PR team tweeted some of his comments at the meeting; we’ve also included details from others reporters here:

Previously: Meet Uber’s choice for CEO: Expedia chief brings ‘internal calm’ and experience with big personalities

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