Former SoftBank president Nikesh Arora has denied that he was ever approached to be Uber’s new CEO. Several reports have emerged in the last few weeks throwing up various illustrious names from Silicon Valley as contenders for the top job at Uber, after founder Travis Kalanick was booted out by investors. In an interview to Bloomberg, Arora said that he could not comment on whether he was interested in the job because he’s had “no conversations” with Uber. NYT had reported last month that Arora was one of the many executives being approached for the role. Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelinesAlso Read - Uber launches 'Uber Connect' package delivery service to rival Dunzo and Swiggy Genie
Incidentally, Arora during his tenure at SoftBank, was among the chief investors in the anti-Uber alliance that included China’s Didi Chuxing, Southeast Asia’s Grab, and India’s Ola. Since his exit, SoftBank has doubled down on its bets on each of the three ride-hailing companies, and is admittedly vying for a stake in Uber now. Arora believes that several players can co-exist in the taxi aggregator space. It needn’t be a “winner takes it all” market. Speaking about Uber’s utility in people’s lives, he said: “When things go from a nice-to-have to a must-have in your life, you realize this is a winning scenario.” ALSO READ: SoftBank keen to invest in either Uber or Lyft before entering America: Reports Also Read - Uber to operate 'Essential' cab service to hospitals and pharmacy stores in 4 cities
Despite the popularity of Uber as a service, the company’s work culture has come under intense scrutiny of late, with charges of sexism and harassment hurled at the top management. Kalanick’s inability to act on a series of complaints led to his ouster in June. And tasked Uber investors with the responsibility of finding a replacement by October. “Somebody needed to take responsibility for all the things we read about in the past year… Whoever ends up in that role [CEO], has both a cultural set of issues to fix and also has a whole series of operational things to do,” Arora said. ALSO READ: General Electric s outgoing chief Jeffery Immelt is running for Uber CEO
Of the names doing the rounds, foremost is that of General Electric CEO Geoffrey Immelt whose turbulent 16-year-stint at the automobile manufacturer ended in June. Uber s five-member search committee is believed to have had active discussions with him already. Prior to that, Hewlett Packard chief Meg Whitman was also said to be in contention for the role. However, she denied it categorically through a social media post. Other top Silicon Valley executives like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki had reportedly been approached too. Whoever wins the job, will have his/her task cut out.