Indian American Nikesh Arora, the former chief operating officer of SoftBank Group Corp., is in race among the individuals in the running to take over as Uber chief executive officer. The top job at the company was vacated by Travis Kalanick. Arora has been quietly advancing himself for the position, said a New York Times report.
Uber is making a pitch to potential CEO candidates after Kalanick, the firm’s co-founder was ousted last month. The company has received a flood of interest and Uber’s board has interviewed multiple candidates, says the newspaper, citing an anonymous source.
The company is pitching top bosses such as Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, Adam Bain, Twitter’s former CEO, David Cush, ex-CEO, Virgin America, and Marissa Mayer, ex-CEO Yahoo. The race also includes Disney’s ex-COO Thomas Staggs, added the report.
Kalanick’s resignation came after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder conducted an investigation into the company’s culture and practices, after a former female employee publicly accused it of promoting sexual harassment by often looking the other way.
Uber has also been in a legal tangle with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit, over intellectual property theft, according to reports. Waymo has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets and infringing on patents of its self-driving program, it said. Since February, Uber has lost or removed numerous senior executives including Indian American president of engineering Amit Singhal and finance chief Gautam Gupta.
Arora was on course to become the next CEO of Japan’s SoftBank, before stepping down in June 2016. The Times, citing unnamed sources, said that Kalanick, who remains on the company’s board, is actively involved in the search for his replacement. Arora was believed to be set to take over as SoftBank chair and CEO when Masayoshi Son retired, but eventually resigned amid allegations of his business acumen. During Arora’s SoftBank tenure, the company invested in a set of ground-breaking growth-stage companies in India like Snapdeal, Ola, Oyo, Grofers, Housing and extended its footprint in Asia successfully with the mobile e-commerce company Coupang in Korea and the ride-share player Grab in Southeast Asia.
Prior to joining SoftBank, Arora was a longtime executive at Google Inc., serving as the chief business officer. In addition to his role in revenue and customer operations, and marketing and partnerships, he served in several other positions, including development and management of Google’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before that, he was chief marketing officer at T-Mobile Europe. Arora earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering at IIT Varanasi, a master’s from Boston College, and an M.B.A. and doctorate from Northeastern University.