Uber's CEO Search Just Lost Another Candidate.
The move comes amid several meetings over the weekend for Uber's board of directors that focused on potentially closing the company's CEO search. Immelt had long been considered a frontrunner and one of three finalists for the job, but as (https://www.recode.net/2017/8/27/16211254/former-ge-ceo-jeff-immelt-out-uber-ceo) Recode notes, Immelt had faced new hurdles for the role within the past few weeks.
Along with some investors questioning Immelt's previous tenure at GE, turmoil on Uber's board reportedly played a major role in Immelt's decision to remove himself from the search. Due to opposing factions within the board, much of the search process has leaked and played out in public.
Uber's board of directors is also a central player in a lawsuit from Benchmark Capital. The venture firm, which is a major investor in Uber, filed the suit earlier this month against former CEO Travis Kalanick in a push to remove him from the company entirely. In the suit, the firm makes several major claims against Kalanick, including accusing him of trying to engineer a way back into a leadership role at Uber and misleading investors about internal scandals to (http://ibtimes.com/benchmark-capital-sues-former-uber-ceo-travis-kalanick-selfish-fraud-2577229) "increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends."
Kalanick was the longtime CEO at the ride-sharing service, but stepped down earlier this year after (http://ibtimes.com/why-travis-kalanick-leaving-uber-ceos-departure-comes-after-months-scandals-2552720) a string of legal and internal controversies under his leadership forced his resignation. However, Kalanick has still maintained a regular circle of influence at Uber and has reportedly wanted to return as CEO, but the company (http://ibtimes.com/uber-ceo-search-executive-denies-travis-kalanick-will-rejoin-company-2575580) shot down this speculation in an internal email. Kalanick's potential role, if any, at Uber under a new CEO has remained a large question during the search process.
More significantly, Immelt may not have been the only candidate Uber was seriously considering for CEO. Despite withdrawing from the search process in July, Uber has potentially been trying to bring former eBay and current Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman back to the negotiation table. According to the (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/27/technology/ubers-search-for-chief-executive-nearing-a-decision.html?_r=1) New York Times , Whitman is expected to be the board's preferred candidate for the role.
Benchmark has reportedly been in several discussions with Whitman over the role since her statement backing out of the search process last month and has favored her as a possible CEO candidate, according to (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/22/benchmark-not-giving-up-on-meg-whitman-as-uber-ceo.html) CNBC . With her tech industry background, the former California gubernatorial candidate was a preferred option for much of the board, but her withdrawal from the CEO search last month publicly put her candidacy on hold.
However, it hasn't meant that she hasn't been in contact with Uber. Whitman has reportedly been in touch with some board members in recent weeks and issued several conditions that would need to be met before she would start to reconsider her withdrawal, (https://www.recode.net/2017/8/27/16210622/uber-board-vote-new-ceo-outcome-still-unclear) Recode reported.