🔒 Boardroom Talk: Of 1,500 global CEOs at WEF last week, this guy was ‘most impressive’

By Alec Hogg


For me, easily the most impressive CEO in Davos last week – Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi (right). I was in the front row during his conversation in the WSJ House with the publication’s columist and EMEA editor Thorold Barker.    

In Davos last week, I got exposed to many over-achievers. As you’d expect when attending a Forum where the basic entry requirement is to be top of their global class. The comment that resonated most with me personally was from Iranian executive Dara Khosrowshahi (53) who took over as CEO of Uber in August 2017.

Using his own experience, he summed up the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs, most of whom fail to elevate businesses to the next level: “Uber’s start-up culture was used to make it the ultimate disruptor of the transportation system. (But) at some point the disruptor became the incumbent.
 
“Where the company failed was in understanding the responsibilities that come with incumbency. If you’re acting like a disrupter when you’re really an incumbent, you kinda look like a jerk.
 
“What I’m trying to achieve with Uber is a combination of keeping that (startup) entrepreneurial energy and edge, but recognising the enormous responsibility we have (as an incumbent) and ultimately when we act, acting with the right intent and doing the right thing.” A wise man, Mr Khosrowshahi. 

Last week in numbers – from Kevin Lings, chief economist at Stanlib

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