Before current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was hired to lead the ride-hailing company, he made clear it had to break from its scandal-plagued past. That meant former CEO Travis Kalanick would need to relinquish control over the company’s affairs, beyond holding a board seat.
Now Mr. Khosrowshahi has extended the policy to next week’s IPO event at the New York Stock Exchange, Axios first reported on Friday. Uber’s co-founders, including Mr. Kalanick, won’t be on the podium and thus will be left off the indelible photos and video of that scene that will be distributed globally. That podium area, we are told, is reserved for Mr. Khosrowshahi, a handful of Uber drivers, and early employees who are still executives at the company—likely CTO Thuan Pham, new mobility chief Rachel Holt and VP of Americas Andrew Macdonald, to name a few. Board directors including Mr. Kalanick and Saudi sovereign wealth manager Yasir al-Rumayyan are invited to be at NYSE but not on the podium. Lyft’s board directors, by contrast, were on the podium for that company’s IPO in late March.
Some Silicon Valley founders told us they felt the move was petty—Mr. Kalanick, after all, built the company. However, some Uber shareholders said there was a duty to new shareholders to keep Mr. Kalanick off the stage, given the events of 2017. In any case, next week will be a memorable one for Uber, its rivals, its partners, and other money-losing IPO candidates like Postmates and WeWork.