LAS VEGAS -- Expedia Inc. chairman Barry Diller was the first one to inform CEO Dara Khosrowshahi that he had been named the head of Uber.
Diller told the story about Khosrowshahi's September departure from Expedia in a conversation with current CEO Mark Okerstrom during the Expedia Partner Conference Thursday at the Aria Resort & Casino here.
According to Diller, he and Khosrowshahi had been talking about the possibility of the latter's departure for several weeks after he had been named a candidate to head Uber. Diller even helped Khosrowshahi prepare for the interviewing process.
The weekend the news broke that Uber was close to hiring a new CEO, at first it seemed Khosrowshahi did not get the position. That Sunday, though, things changed. Diller, who was in the South Pacific that weekend, was on the phone with Khosrowshahi, consoling him about not getting the Uber job. Then Diller got an email from Silicon Valley journalist Kara Swisher that simply read, "Dara is it."
Uber's board apparently leaked the information about Uber selecting Khosrowshahi. Then Diller leaked it to Khosrowshahi himself.
"Inadvertently, I was the one who told him he got the job," he said.
Eventually, the conversation at Expedia's conference turned to the replacement of Khosrowshahi. Diller said the answer was easy: Promote Okerstrom
, then the CFO.
"You were there and in the position that you could succeed, so hopefully you will," Diller said to laughs.