Jeff Immelt Backs Out of Chaotic Search for New Uber CEO

Chairman and CEO of US industrial giant General Electric (GE) Jeffrey Immelt smiles as he takes part in a GE forum “Ecomagination” on October 29, 2015 in Paris . AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Uber made it easy to catch a ride, but the company sure can’t catch a break.

Outgoing GE CEO Jeff Immelt, considered a frontrunner to replace founder Travis Kalanick as CEO, announced on Twitter this morning that he will no longer seek the position.

Uber’s board of directors was expected to vote on a new CEO for the stumbling giant today, and Immelt was the favorite as recently as last night. But a report from Recode’s Kara Swisher also suggested that the board was courting a prospect who has already rebuffed them – Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman.

Whitman, according to Recode, has been the preferred choice of Benchmark Capital. The venture capital fund has in recent weeks been trying to wrest power from founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick retains his own board seat, and Benchmark claims he also sought to improperly stack the board with loyalists on his way out of the top job.

Swisher’s reporting seems to uphold Benchmark’s claims that Kalanick is undermining the CEO search process. Kalanick apparently preferred Immelt to succeed him, but others – specifically, Benchmark – saw Immelt as too accommodating to Kalanick, who reportedly has said he wants to retain influence and eventually return to the CEO role.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Fortune, David Z. Morris