Uber hires an ex-Merrill Lynch exec as its new CFO, taking it one step closer to its long-awaited IPO

  • Uber has a new chief financial officer, the company announced Tuesday.

  • Nelson Chai, the former CFO of Merrill Lynch, will take on the role, which has been open since 2015.

  • Chai is a key hire in Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's plan to take the company public in 2019.

After three years of searching, Uber has filled a key executive role necessary to move forward with its plans to hold an initial public offering in 2019.

Nelson Chai has joined Uber as its CFO, the company announced Tuesday. Previously, Chai served as CFO of Merrill Lynch, and was most recently CEO of the Warranty Group, an insurance and warranty provider based in Chicago.

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

Chai's hire comes after a three-year-long search to fill the spot, left vacant when Brent Callinicos — an ex-Googler and current executive at Hyperloop — left the startup.

Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber in August 2017, reportedly picked VMware's CFO Zane Rowe for the role in April, but Rowe turned down the job.

Since then, the company has lost two key executives. Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John left the company in June after just a year in her role. Last week, Chief People Office Liane Hornsey stepped down ahead of a report by Reuters that she had been the subject of an investigation over how she handled racial discrimination complaints.

Uber was last valued at $69 billion at the time of its last venture capital round. However, earlier this year, SoftBank purchased shares of the company at $48 billion valuation — a steep discount that raises questions about the valuation of the company at the time this IPO does come about.

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