Former GE chief Jeffrey Immelt front-runner in Uber CEO race
Jeffrey Immelt | Photo Credit: Reuters

Jeffrey Immelt, who stepped down as CEO of American conglomerate GE last month, remains the top contender for the chief executive role at taxi-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc, according to media reports.

The CEO post at Uber has been lying vacant since its co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down in June.

The majority of the board is leaning towards the experienced Immelt even as two other executives are being considered, technology news website Recode reported citing persons with direct knowledge of the situation.

A decision could be made in two weeks, the report said.

Earlier, Uber’s head of human resources reportedly told employees that the company was considering fewer than six names for the top position.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, former Twitter COO Adam Bain, former Virgin America CEO David Cush, former Disney CEO Thomas Staggs and former SoftBank Group Corp chief operating officer Nikesh Arora were among the top executives in the race for the post.

The development comes in a wake of reports suggesting that Uber is in discussions with a group of investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, to raise a fresh round of investment.

According to a Bloomberg report, the consortium of potential investors includes US equity firms Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic besides SoftBank and Didi Chuxing. Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings has also shown interest in the deal.

Meanwhile, the company is caught up in a legal battle between venture capital firm Benchmark Capital and Kalanick. As per the lawsuit, the venture capital group wants to force Kalanick off the board of the company and quash his rights to fill three board seats.

It accuses him of hiding a number of misdeeds from the board and plotting to retain his authority at the firm even after he was forced to step down as CEO following a series of scandals.

Refuting the allegations, Kalanick issued a statement calling the lawsuit “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

Kalanick had to step down as chief executive of the cab-hailing firm in the face of mounting pressure from investors. The development came a week after he announced he would take time off to help the company resolve the controversies it had got itself embroiled into.

That followed a probe into the company’s culture and practices by US Attorney General Eric Holder, after a former female employee publicly accused it of promoting sexual harassment.

Uber has also been in a legal tangle with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit, over intellectual property theft. Waymo has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets and infringing on patents of its self-driving programme.

Since February, Uber has lost or sacked at least a dozen senior executives, from president of engineering Amit Singhal to finance chief Gautam Gupta.

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