In 2017, Dara Khosrowshahi became the Chief Executive Officer of the ride-sharing company Uber. A seasoned executive with a background in both engineering and finance, Khosrowshahi led Uber in its initial public offering in May 2019 and now manages the fast-growing company that operates in 80 countries around the world. Before joining Uber, he spent 12 years as CEO of Expedia. During this time, the company quadrupled its value in hotels and reservations, in addition to doubling the company's earnings before taxes. Under the leadership of Khosrowshahi, the company also expanded to 60 countries and acquired Travelocity, Orbitz, and HomeAway.
Khosrowshahi started his career as an investment banker on Wall Street in the 1990s, and later moved into the internet industry. He currently serves on the board of directors of Expedia and was previously on the board of The New York Times Company. In 2013, Khosrowshahi won the Pacific Northwester Entrepreneur of the Year Award as given by Ernst & Young. In 2016, he was one of the highest paid CEOs in the U.S. Besides business, he's a passionate advocate for refugees in crisis around the world.
Less than a decade after his own family fled Iran during the chaotic 1979 revolution, Khosrowshahi arrived on the Brown University campus as a freshman. Looking back at his experiences, he said that much of his career success was shaped by his youthful experimentation as a college student. At Brown Khosrowshahi really hit his stride. He was equally at home with his water-polo-playing brothers in the Sigma Chi fraternity, and geeky friends who shared his love of Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game. This helped him learn the value of combining two seemingly opposite worlds. In 1991, he graduated from Brown with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and electronics engineering.
Khosrowshahi's positive experiences at Brown are reflected in the effort he’s put into supporting his alma mater over the years. Despite his busy CEO schedule, Khosrowshahi regularly returns to his school when needed. In 2008, for example, Khosrowshahi addressed students and alums as the keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Entrepreneurship Forum. Pulling directly from his personal experiences as the CEO of Expedia, he spoke about how entrepreneurship is about taking risks and gave examples of mistakes he made in the past. Then in 2019, Khosrowshahi returned to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brown's Open Curriculum – a distinctive, student-driven approach to teaching and learning. As the keynote speaker for the event, Khosrowshahi touted the value of the Open Curriculum, noting that as a bioelectric engineering concentrator, he took risks with courses like European Intellectual History, which ultimately inspired him the most.
"The Open Curriculum for me was awesome... I don't know why I chose that course, and that’s the beautiful thing," Khosrowshahi said. "It really opened up to me the power of storytelling. And I've taken that into working and leadership in companies. Stories are such incredibly powerful mediums to inspire, to unite, to guide."