- Uber CFO Nelson Chai will reportedly be departing from his role after a five-year tenure, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg News report.
- Chai informed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi that he will be stepping down from his role, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter. An Uber spokesperson told the news outlet that the ride-sharing company was “not going to comment on any executive’s potential career decisions during a quiet period.” No planned departure date has been set for the reported move.
- Chai’s departure would mark the most significant executive switch at the San Francisco, California-based company since the company went public in May 2019, Bloomberg said.
A veteran of Merrill Lynch — where he served as CFO — and the CIT Group, Chai took the ride-sharing company’s finance seat in 2018 as the company marshaled forces for its coming initial pubic offering, only a year after Khosrowshahi was named CEO.
Chai’s appointment was an especially essential hire for Uber at the time as its CFO seat had been sitting empty since 2015 with the departure of Brent Callinicos that year, according to a 2018 New York Times report.
The CIT alum led the company through its hotly-anticipated IPO, which occurred with a whimper rather than the expected bang; the ride-sharing behemoth ended its first day of trading after its IPO with shares down 7.6% — giving it a lower valuation at the time than its private $76 billion valuation, according to a 2019 report by CNBC.
Follwing its IPO, Uber struggled with a slump in ridership in the COVID-19 pandemic and its share price still hovered below that of its IPO in 2021. Uber was also among the companies that conducted large-scale layoffs as it faced pandemic-related financial challenges. It cut 6,000 jobs in 2020 as part of a planned $1 billion cost-reduction plan.
Chai also presided over the company’s efforts to diversify its portfolio beyond rides as it struggled to adjust to life as a public company in a post-pandemic world; Uber acquired food delivery app Postmates in a $2.65 billion deal in 2020 and subsequently incorporated it into its own fast-growing delivery subsidiary Uber Eats.
Chai also helped to push the company towards its first-ever cash flow positive quarter as CFO, with an influx in driver signups leading Uber to report positive cash flow of $382 million in August 2022, CFO Dive previously reported.
The trend has continued in its most recent quarter, with Uber reporting a record free cash flow of $549 million, according to the company’s earnings results.
Khosrowshahi expressed confidence in Uber’s ability to weather current economic headwinds, urging investors to remember that “this is not a fair weather company,” on its most recent earnings call in May.
“I think Nelson and myself, the rest of the team have a demonstrated the ability to deliver in good markets and bad markets,” he said during the call.
Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment by CFO Dive.