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Dara Khosrowshahi was CEO of Expedia.
Dara Khosrowshahi was CEO of Expedia.

Image: drew angerer/Getty Images

Dara Khosrowshahi has accepted the position as Uber’s new CEO, and with the official announcement, he’s already taken on the role of Mr. Nice Guy.

“I have to tell you I am scared. I’ve been here at Expedia for so long that I’ve forgotten what life is like outside this place,” Khosrowshahi wrote in a staff memo to Expedia employee, Recode reported. 

“But the times of greatest learning for me have been when I’ve been through big changes, or taken on new roles — you have to move out of your comfort zone and develop muscles that you didn’t know you had,” he continued.

Admitting he’s scared is quite the stark contrast to Uber’s former CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted in June after several scandals. The controversial CEO was caught on camera berating an Uber driver. He knew one of his executives obtained medical files of a rape victim in India. He oversaw what became a toxic workplace environment while also allegedly skirting the law multiples times as his company grew to $69 billion in valuation. 

One of Khosrowshahi’s key responsibilities will be reshaping Uber’s brand, not just leading the company toward a future in self-driving technology. Uber was scrutinized earlier this year with the #DeleteUber movement and Kalanick’s decision to serve on President Donald Trump’s advisory council. In contrast, Khosrowshahi has a reputation for being “fair and nice” and is outspoken against Trump’s policies. 

The new CEO continued to reveal this respectful attitude and calm demeanor at his first all-hands meeting at Uber’s headquarters Wednesday. 

“Everything starts with Travis,” Khosrowshahi said at the meeting, according to Recode‘s Kara Swisher, after a reportedly emotional Kalanick handed the mic over to his replacement. The new CEO also praised the other board members including Garrett Camp and Arianna Huffington, according to several reports.  

But he did admit his willingness to fight when necessary. A difference between Khosrowshahi and Kalanick is that the former is embracing transparency. The three things to know about Khosrowshahi, as tweeted out by Uber’s tired PR team: 

In summary, Khosrowshahi apparently won’t let Uber die, but he is over all the bullsh*t and lack of empowerment some people face within the company. 

Khosrowshahi’s admission of vulnerability is already being praised, but gets the question: Would that have worked for everyone? What if Uber’s new CEO had been a woman, as some had hoped? Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman was in the running. 

Marissa Mayer’s first statements when she became CEO of Yahoo were quite different, for example.

“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world,” she said. 

Instead of admitting any weakness, Mayer championed her ability. “There is a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started,” her statement continued. 

Though, Mayer’s statement was in a public press release. Khosrowshahi’s was directed to his former employees at Expedia. 

Khosrowshahi has lots of challenges ahead as he works to move Uber beyond the scandals. His first steps include filling the many leadership roles, after several managers were ousted due to sexual harassment allegations and other controversies. A new CFO is coming, Huffington said during the meeting, according to The Information

Uber employees are focused on the company’s finances as well. A question during the open question and answer of the all-hands meeting was about a potential initial public offering. As Uber seeks to grow more and payout investors who have financially backed the company, Khosrowshahi may be the one to take it public. He said an IPO could happen between the next year and a half to three years, according to Bloomberg

Khosrowshahi officially starts on Tuesday. 

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