Uber hires new CFO as it drives towards an IPO


Uber's new CFO is Nelson J Chai, who held the top finance jobs at Merrill Lynch and NYSE Euronext, and helped take public electronic stock exchange Archipelago Holdings.

With an aim to prep for an IPO next year, Uber has hired Nelson J Chai as chief financial officer. Nelson comes with over a decade of experience in senior positions at some of the world’s leading publicly traded financial services and insurance companies.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, in a press statement, said: “I’m incredibly excited to bring on someone as experienced and thoughtful as Nelson. He will be a great partner for me and the entire management team as we move towards becoming a public company.”

Uber has not had a finance head since 2015, when then CFO Brent Callinicos left the company.

Nelson was earlier CEO at Chicago-based Warranty Group, an insurance and warranty provider. He previously spent more than five years at CIT Group, where he most recently served as President. He has also been the CFO of Merrill Lynch & Co.; NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange; and Archipelago Holdings, the first fully electronic stock exchange in the United States.

Speaking on his latest role, Nelson said: “Uber is one of the world’s most iconic and exciting technology companies, and I’m honored to join as CFO. I look forward to working closely with Dara and team as we build on the company's strong growth and forward momentum.”

Nelson has a bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in business administration from the Harvard Business School. He is on the boards of the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, Thermo Fisher, and the US Fund for UNICEF.

Getting past roadblocks

Uber has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the past year. When Dara took over the reins of the San Francisco-based company on August 28 last year, everyone wondered whether the transportation network company would see a turnaround.

Uber has been one of the best-known startups in the world, and reportedly commands 77 percent of the market share in the US. It has a strong presence in over 80 countries, and, according to Harvard Business Review (HBR), is still sitting on a massive cash pile from its last financing round. HBR calls it one of the most valued unicorns in the history of business.

Over the year, Uber has been working towards an IPO. Investors are looking for an exit from the ride-hailing unicorn. The platform has already consolidated its Southeast Asian business to the Indonesian Grab, and it will be interesting to see Uber’s move in that direction.

For now, all eyes are on Dara, Nelson, and the upcoming IPO.