As Uber Technologies Inc. contemplates a public offering, the ride-sharing company said Tuesday that it has hired Nelson Chai as Chief Financial Officer.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi did not look to Silicon Valley to fill the role that had been vacant for three years, but to the sleepy world of insurance and warranty. Chai was most recently CEO of TPG Capital-backed The Warranty Group before the Chicago company's $2.5-billion sale to Assurant, Inc. (AIZ - Get Report) , which closed in May.
The ride-sharing outfit is "trying to look respectable for Wall Street for the IPO," 451 Research analyst Christian Renaud suggested.
"They have had too much of a reputational deficit from the founders as being rather cavalier, which equals risk to the street ... which would damage the IPO odds." Renaud said.
Khosrowshahi arrived from Expedia (EXPE - Get Report) in August 2017 after founder Travis Kalanick resigned amid controversy about a sexist culture and other workplace issues. The ride-sharing company raised capital from Altimeter Capital Management, Coatue Management LLC and TPG that reportedly valued the company at $62 billion. That's well above the $48 billion valuation from Softbank Corp.'s December 2017 investment, but below its prior high valuation of $68 billion.
Chai continues Uber's C-Suite makeover. Before running Warranty Group, he was a president at CIT Group Inc. (CIT - Get Report) ; chief financial officer at Merrill Lynch & Co.; and CFO of NYSE Euronext after the company merged with electronic stock exchange Archipelago Holdings. He also sits on the board of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO - Get Report)
Uber's last CFO, Brent Callinicos, stepped down in March 2015 but remained a strategic adviser to the company through September 2016, according to his LinkedIn page.
The head of Uber's global finance team, Prabir Adarkar, left to become CFO of meal-delivery service DoorDash Inc. in July.
Chai fills an important spot at Uber, but Khosrowshahi may still have more hiring to do before he takes the company public. In June, marketing group Endeavor LLC poached Uber's chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John. Saint John had been a high-profile addition from Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) and Khosrowshahi may want to add a chief marketing officer to continue rebuilding the brand before hitting the public markets.
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