Uber’s CEO Pick, Dara Khosrowshahi, Steps Into Brighter Spotlight – New York Times
At the same moment in June that Mr. Kalanick was noisily being ejected from his company, Mr. Khosrowshahi had a little problem of his own. Glassdoor, a site where employees rank their companies, released its 2017 list of the top chief executives. Mr. Khosrowshahi’s score, for whatever reason, had dropped.
His parents weighed in with that combination of celebration and criticism that many immigrant children know well. As Mr. Khosrowshahi reported on Twitter, his mother said, “Nice! You made the top 100!” But his father pointed out: “#39 is good but you were #11 in 2015.”
Lili and Gary (short for Asghar) Khosrowshahi were prosperous members of the Iranian elite in the 1960s and 1970s. Gary was an executive at an industrial conglomerate, where he worked with relatives. They all had to flee Iran in 1978 as the government of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi collapsed.
They made it to Tarrytown, N.Y., and lived with relatives. “For the grown-ups, it was a difficult transition,” Dara Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg Businessweek this year. “The kids were able to party together, so it was fun.”
Four years later, Gary went back to Iran to take care of his ailing father, and he was detained for six years before he could return. Lili had to bring up three children by herself.
Hadi Partovi, Dara’s cousin, said in an interview that “his mom raised him to be direct with people. By far the biggest challenge he faced, which is what all of us faced, was having to come to a new country and assimilate. Being an Iranian in America in the 1980s was not pleasant. People were singing ‘Bomb bomb bomb Iran.’ ”
But the tense environment also pushed them to succeed. “Every one of us cousins had a chip on our shoulders, having lost everything to the new Iranian government,” Mr. Partovi said. “We had a desire to build anew as entrepreneurs.”