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With Uber’s I.P.O., Dara Khosrowshahi Is Taking Travis Kalanick’s Company Public

accidental death of Travis Kalanick’s mother, and of the dramatic boardroom coup that ousted him as boss. His presence on the exchange’s iconic balcony could make both Mr. Kalanick and the corporation appear resilient.Mr. Khosrowshahi wasn’t having it. The original plan was to fill the rafters with Uber’s earliest employees and longest tenured drivers. Moreover,…

Accidental death of Travis Kalanick’s mother, and of the dramatic boardroom coup that ousted him as boss. His presence on the exchange’s iconic balcony could make both Mr. Kalanick and the corporation appear resilient.

Mr. Khosrowshahi wasn’t having it. The original plan was to fill the rafters with Uber’s earliest employees and longest tenured drivers. Moreover, some people at the top of the company felt that Mr. Kalanick was still a toxic liability, and that Uber should keep him at maximum distance as it tried to convince constituents that employees truly abided by a new motto: “Do the right thing. Period.” Mr. Kalanick’s appearance would unavoidably rekindle public memories of just how much of a disaster his final year was.

venture firms, private equity shops, sovereign-wealth funds and other elite insiders have not left much upside for mom-and-pop investors.Amazon’s leadership principles run through a bro-speak translation engine; now they have been made into a blander set of eight platitudes. (Among them: “We persevere.”) Investors who had billions riding on Uber’s success have been happy to see a constant stream of negative headlines shrink to a trickle.an interview last year.

Still, Uber has no clear path to turning a profit in the next few years, and the risks section of its registration statement runs to 48 pages, out of 285 total. Shares of Lyft, its nearest competitor, have fallen some 26 percent since their March debut.

Uber’s bankers seem to have internalized the doubts. After initially targeting an I.P.O. opening range of roughly $48 to $55 per share, Uber reduced expectations to roughly $44 to $50 per share at a valuation of $80 billion to $91 billion — significantly lower than the $90 billion to $100 billion range it originally sought.

Despite all Mr. Khosrowshahi has done to distance Uber from its founder, Mr. Kalanick remains intimately connected to the company he built. He remains on Uber’s board, and Mr. Khosrowshahi has shown no signs of agitating for a shake-up of the group in the months following an I.P.O., as some had expected he would.

Friends of Mr. Kalanick say that he feels unfairly targeted by Uber’s I.P.O. paperwork, and its implicit criticisms of his leadership. And every time Mr. Khosrowshahi uses the word “culture,” Mr. Kalanick considers it a thinly veiled synonym for his reign, according to people familiar with his thinking. They add that Mr. Kalanick hopes that his successor will use the I.P.O. to bury the hatchet between the two men, and mark a new chapter in Uber’s history. Even former enemies on the board, like Matt Cohler of Benchmark, have spoken in favor of Mr. Kalanick’s involvement, according to a report from Axios.

making on paper several billion dollars. That is 600 times what Mr. Khosrowshahi’s stake will be worth. Not that he’s one to let that bother him.

“He’s like Teflon. You can’t scratch him,” said Avid Larizadeh Duggan, Mr. Khosrowshahi’s cousin and the chief operating officer of Kobalt, a music start-up. “But it’s a positive way, not robotic. That’s why he’s such a good choice for this role, because you have to be — especially from where he started.”

 

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