Uber has announced that it has appointed Nelson Chai as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a role that had been vacant since 2015, when Brent Callinicos left the company. He is expected to be steering Uber’s pursuit of going public in the coming months.
Prior to this, Chai was working as the CEO of Chicago-based Warranty Group, an insurance and warranty provider. Before that, he worked as the CEO of CITI Group, CFO at both, Merrill Lynch & Co and Archipelago Holdings. Chai also serves on the boards of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Uber was seen having a general struggle to hire a new CFO over the past few months according to media reports. Some reports indicated that Uber was in negotiations with multiple high level executives for the job, albeit without success. To makes matters worse, this was happening when senior finance executives were leaving the company. Consequently, and perhaps, due to other reasons as well, the company’s finances took a major hit. Many commentators were left wondering if the company would still go ahead with announcing an Initial Public Offering without a chief finance officer in place.
Last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi revealed that the company plans to public in 2019. At the time, he claimed that Uber has ‘all the disadvantages of being a public company, with the spotlight on us, with none of the advantages.’ This was in strong contrast to the views shared by his predecessor and Uber founder Travis Kalanick who was against the idea.
The latest appointment also follows a spate of higher level recruitments at Uber in the recent months. Last week, it hired Matt Olsen as its chief security officer. In July, the company appointed Ruby Zefo as chief privacy officer and Simon Hania as data protection officer.