Who should be Uber's next CEO?

The list of potential Uber CEO candidates includes women leaders like Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg and innovators such as Tesla co-founder Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook.


Things aren't all well at Uber as the company, which has been leading the market of taxi aggregators, is presently running sans a leader. CEO Travis Kalanick left the company in June 2017 amidst growing allegations of its chaotic culture. And now, the board is in search for a next executive face. But who should be an appropriate match for the empty position?

Kalanick, 41, co-founded Uber in 2009 with StumbleUpon co-founder and Canadian investor Garett Camp. Though the company gained enormous popularity initially for its app-based model, its presence got expanded to more than 80 countries globally through an affordable model that debuted in November 2014. The company was often touted to be a role-model for young startups. But some internal conflicts emerged that brought the turmoil. Whether it was some strikes by taxi drivers or charges of a turbulent work environment, Uber lately faced a list of allegations. However, the prime reason for the departure of its co-founder is found to be the investor pressure that emerged following some serious sexual harassment charges.

Women leaders for the vacant seat

Uber is infamous for gender discrimination. According to former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler, who reported a sexual harassment allegation in February 2017, the number of female employees in the company decreased from 25 percent to six percent. Female staff in its engineering teams even declined to 3 percent. All this brings a reason for a woman leadership.

Also read: Uber's first full-time CEO says goodbye to its global operations

Greek-American publisher and businesswoman Arianna Huffington, who is one of the early investors of Uber, is the first potential lady CEO for Kalanick's entity. However, names like Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have also surfaced recently.

An innovator to improve disruptive image

If a woman leader wouldn't be the choice of its board members, Uber should look for an innovator who can not only improve its deteriorating presence but also revive its fortune.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be the most fortunate face for Uber nowadays. 46-year-old Musk has all good skills to make the car-hailing company exponentially profitable. Moreover, a person like Musk would help the Kalanick troop to start offering self-driving cabs in the future. This will ultimately resolve the company's struggles with its driver partners. From Tesla's point, it will give an opportunity to the electric car maker to enter non-US markets in a time lesser than what it has been planning formally.

After Tesla's Musk, Uber can consider Apple CEO Tim Cook as its next successful leader. Cook's leadership has already brought new levels of success for the iPhone maker. Also, Apple had last year showed its interest towards the taxi-aggregation market by investing as huge as US$1 billion in Uber's China rival DidiChuxing. Such investments would directly come to Uber with the joining of Cook as its new executive.

The front-runner...!

Having said that, the board is reportedly planning to evaluate different angles to pick the best fit for CEO position. Former General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt is said to topping the list of potential candidates. As per a recent report by tech website Recode, Uber's directors are set to decide Immelt's appointment within the next two weeks.

Immelt, 61, stepped down as GE's CEO just earlier this month after serving the company in the top role for the last 16 years. The executive doesn't have a typical entrepreneurial mindset. Instead, he's been considered as a C-level suite. This might lead the company to its IPO -- if everything becomes well in the coming months.

Nevertheless, Kalanick is expected to make a strong comeback -- just like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Twitter's Jack Dorsey -- following the waves of disruption g­­­­­­et settled.