How Khosrowshahi Oversaw a Comeback At Expedia

If Dara Khosrowshahi takes the Uber CEO job, as he’s expected to, he’ll be inheriting a company badly in need of an overhaul after months of turmoil and executive departures. In that sense, the job has parallels to the turnaround he oversaw at Expedia in the past five years, when he rejuvenated the two-decade-old company’s technical prowess and shifted strategy to accumulate more hotel inventory.

The big difference is that Mr. Khosrowshahi ran the company during its slump. In his first seven years as Expedia CEO—starting in 2005—the stock grew by about 50% and saw its market cap eclipsed by Priceline Group for the first time. An early internet stalwart, Expedia had got accustomed to comfortable growth before having to grapple with nimbler and more innovative rivals like Booking.com and Airbnb, one analyst said.

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The politicking would come in handy at Uber, which has seen relationships sour with drivers, board members and competitors like Alphabet over the years. “If you’re dealing with Hilton and American Airlines, you know how to deal with tough customers,” said T.J. Clark, CEO of TurnKey Vacation Rentals and a former colleague with Mr. Khosrowshahi at IAC.

Samujjal Purkayastha commented on this article.
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“Dara was willing to get hands dirty and dig in deep.”