In a CEO Search Like Uber’s, Is There Haggling Room for Contenders?

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new top management executives, Lamboy says. “Most of the time, CEOs have executive hiring authority,” he says. The start of a CEO’s term may lead to a period of “regime change,” when the new leader ousts some executives and hires hand-picked replacements, Lamboy says. However, some boards want to interview the CEO’s picks, and sometimes hires are made contingent on a board’s approval, he says.

When a company has been facing legal troubles or ethical red flags, Lamboy says, CEO candidates should take care to find out, “What else is coming down the pipe?” Otherwise, a new CEO might be faced with handling an unanticipated scandal, or a cover-up they wouldn’t want to be involved in, Lamboy says.

Uber raises alarm bells due to a number of reported incidents, Lamboy says. He points to Uber’s alleged practice, reported by the New York Times in April, of identifying and tagging an iPhone even after the Uber app had been deleted from it. Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to remove Uber’s app from Apple’s App Store if the ride-hailing company kept it up, according to the Times. Lamboy also recalls an incident widely reported by news outlets including the Washington Post back in 2014, when Uber executive Emil Michael allegedly proposed that the company hire investigators to dredge up personal information about journalists and use it against them if they wrote unfavorable stories about Uber. Michael, a close ally of Kalanick’s, left Uber in June in a shakeout following the company’s board-ordered investigation of its workplace culture, according to the New York Times.

Lamboy says Uber CEO candidates would do well to question the board closely about potential scandals that might arise from the actions of lone employees, or even from practices sanctioned by management.

Whatever agreements a new CEO manages to negotiate with a company board, “everything should be written out. There will be a lot of lawyers involved,” Lamboy says.

As for Uber’s eventual pick, Lamboy foresees that the new chief executive will operate under intense scrutiny.

“It’s a hard job,” Lamboy says. “It’s going to be a major undertaking.”

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