er has finally found a replacement for Travis Kalanick, but the shiny new C.E.O. is likely to come with a hefty price tag. Dara Khosrowshahi, a Barry Diller protege who has spent the last 12 years serving as Expedia’s C.E.O., could cost Uber as much as $200 million, according to Bloomberg, if his compensation package includes buying out his stock options. With unvested Expedia shares worth $184.4 million at Friday’s close, combined with whatever his annual salary and stock options will be at Uber, Khosrowshahi could become one of the nation’s highest-paid executives this year.
Though he hasn’t formally accepted the offer yet, Khosrowshahi has already received the blessing of Diller, who owns Expedia parent company I.A.C. and says he believes Khosrowshahi will accept the offer. “As you probably know by now, Dara Khosrowshahi has been asked to lead Uber. Nothing has been yet finalized, but having extensively discussed this with Dara I believe it is his intention to accept,” Diller wrote in a note to Expedia employees filed with the S.E.C. on Monday. “I also know the struggle he has been having out of both his abiding enthusiasm for Expedia’s future as well as his loyalty to all of us. I know Dara would like to communicate now with all of you but I’ve asked him not to until this is fully resolved. If Dara does leave us, it will be to my great regret but also my blessing – he’s devoted 12 great years to building this Company and if this is what he wants for his next adventure it will be with my best wishes.”
Though Uber won’t have to disclose Khosrowshahi’s compensation as a private company, there are some hints about what his pay package could look like. When Uber acquired self-driving trucking start-up Otto last year, the company awarded 5.31 million shares worth $250 million to Anthony Levandowski, the star engineer at Alphabet who founded Otto. (The figure was disclosed as part of an ongoing lawsuit Alphabet filed against Uber; Levandowski was fired from Uber earlier this year, and consequently relinquished the $250 million in stock.) Khosrowshahi made $2.45 million as the head of Expedia in 2016; the year before, he made $94.6 million because he entered into a long-term employment agreement with Expedia, making him the highest-paid U.S. C.E.O. that year.