General Electric’s (GE) Jeff Immelt is one of a handful of candidates in the running to take on the vacant CEO position at scandal-ridden Uber, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal’s source claims that the ride-hailing company’s five-member search committee has held several discussions with Immelt, whose 16-year tenure as leader of General Electric is set to come to an end this year.
Immelt is believed to be one of several experienced executives that Uber has spoken to about replacing disgraced former CEO Travis Kalanick. After an extensive search, the ride-hailing giant has now reportedly narrowed down its shortlist of candidates to just a few names and hopes to name Kalanick’s successor by Labor Day. (See also: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns.)
Bloomberg previously claimed that Hewlett Packard’s CEO and chair Meg Whitman was also in the frame to take over the reins at Uber. However, Whitman tweeted that she has no interest in replacing Kalanick.
"Normally I do not comment on rumors, but the speculation about my future and Uber has become a distraction," she wrote. "So let me make this as clear as I can. I am fully committed to HPE and plan to remain the company's CEO...Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman."
Immelt’s Twitter account has yet to make any reference to the top position at Uber, although the Journal’s source did speculate that it’s possible that General Electric’s CEO and the other remaining candidates might withdraw their names from consideration at some point. Given the number of challenges facing Uber — the company has been hit with a slew of highly damaging allegations, ranging from sexism and sexual harassment to claims it stole Google’s (GOOGL) self-driving technology — hesitation to take on the role shouldn’t perhaps come as much of a surprise.
Immelt, who is certainly no stranger to big challenges, has led the industrial giant during a number of trying times, including the financial crisis and various oil price fluctuations.
Part of Immelt’s strategy centered on refocusing General Electric’s main area of expertise toward power turbines, jet engines and medical equipment. That process saw him offload many of the conglomerate’s divisions, including plastics, financial services and almost all of its consumer-facing products.
This aggressive portfolio transformation hasn't always been well received by investors. In the past year alone, the company’s stock is down nearly 20 percent. (See also: GE's Result: Cloudy With A Mix Of Uncertainity.)