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Uber Made a Strong Choice for its New CFO to Prepare for its IPO

Ridesharing service Uber just made a move that shows the company is preparing for its expected IPO.

Uber has hired Nelson Chai as its new Chief Financial Officer to help tighten and organize the company’s finances as it prepares to go public. The company hasn’t had a CFO since 2015.

Chai has had executive roles at Merrill Lynch, NYSE Euronext, and insurange group Warranty which is owned by private-equity firm TPG Capital.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has previously said that the company’s “target” is to go public in 2019, which is right around the corner.

“He’s got the whole tool kit to do whatever Uber wants to do if they’re going to go public,” said Peter Crist, the chairman for executive recruiter Crist|Kolder Associates.

“Company boards love to see CFOs who have done more than finance and that’s exactly what he’s got,” Mr. Crist added.

Samuel Dergel, principal Dergel Executive Search said, “They’re not just getting a CFO, they’re getting a very strong executive that has made a difference on the finance side but that can ultimately be a deputy CEO. It’s a great opportunity for the CEO of Uber to have as a confidant someone who understands how to be a CEO.”

Uber issued a full statement about Chai’s appointment on August 21st that reads:

Uber today welcomed Nelson J. Chai as Chief Financial Officer.

Nelson brings more than a decade of experience in senior positions at some of the world’s leading publicly traded financial services and insurance companies. He joins Uber from the Chicago-based Warranty Group, an insurance and warranty provider, where he was CEO.

Previously, he spent more than five years at CIT Group, where he most recently served as President. Before that, he was Chief Financial Officer 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.

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

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

Nelson serves on the boards of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

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