Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi indicated that he plans to accept an offer to become Uber’s CEO and called it “the opportunity of a lifetime,” speaking publicly for the first time about the job offer that has had much of the tech world buzzing since this weekend. He also indicated that embattled former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick would continue to be involved with the ride-hailing company in some capacity.
“Uber is a company that is redefining the transportation industry on a global basis. To be part of that story is something that is interesting and would be a real privilege,” Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg reporter Hui-tong Yu at Expedia’s Bellevue, Wash., headquarters. “Are there difficulties? Are there complexities? Are there challenges? Absolutely, but that’s also what makes it fun. I am not in this to coast. I’m in it to get my hands dirty and build a team and do something that people will look back on with tons of satisfaction.”
Separately, Khosrowshahi told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to take the job, but the contract still needs to be finalized. He described his relationship with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick as “budding,” and added, “I think there’s mutual respect there.”
His comments about Kalanick are notable because loyalty to the former CEO inside Uber is viewed as a potential roadblock for the company’s next leader. Kalanick, who is still on the Uber board, is in a legal dispute with Uber investor Benchmark and was on the search committee for the next CEO.
Expedia disclosed an internal message in an SEC filing Monday morning, in which Expedia Chairman Barry Diller wrote that “Nothing has been yet finalized, but having extensively discussed this with Dara I believe it is his intention to accept.”
News of Khosrowshahi’s selection came out Sunday evening in reports from The New York Times and Recode. During his 12-year tenure as CEO of Expedia, Khosrowshahi has overseen a revitalization and dramatic expansion of the business, which began more than 21 years ago as a small Microsoft division.