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UPDATE 2-New Uber CEO promises change, sees IPO in 18-36 months

(Adds background on board dispute)

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc's new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees on Wednesday the ride-services company would change its culture and could go public in 18 to 36 months.

Khosrowshahi, who led Expedia Inc for 12 years, made the remarks as he introduced himself to Uber's workforce on Wednesday during an all-staff meeting at its San Francisco headquarters.

His plans include rebuilding Uber's culture, stemming its losses as well as conducting an initial public offering. He said the IPO could go ahead in as little as 18 months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"This company has to change," Khosrowshahi told employees, according to the Twitter feed of Uber's communications team. "What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level."

The appointment of Khosrowshahi, who described himself as "a fighter," comes as Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises that culminated in the ouster of its former CEO Travis Kalanick in June. It is also a key step toward filling a gaping hole in its top management which at the moment has no chief financial officer, head of engineering or general counsel.

In his first meeting with Uber employees, Khosrowshahi emphasized recruiting new talent - particularly a chief financial officer - as well as a chairman to help him run the board, according to tweets from Uber.

BOARD DYSFUNCTION

Khosrowshahi inherits a dysfunctional board that has been divided by a lawsuit filed by one investor on the board against Kalanick. The legal dispute has caused shareholder infighting and complicated the CEO search.

The board had already selected Khosrowshahi as Uber's next CEO in a vote on Sunday. But the firm and its board did not speak publicly on the decision until Tuesday evening, as contract negotiations were ongoing.

"The board and the executive leadership team are confident that Dara is the best person to lead Uber into the future," Uber's eight-member board wrote in an email to employees sent late Tuesday that was also made public.

Kalanick, who attended Wednesday's staff meeting, welcomed his replacement in a statement.

"Casting a vote for the next chief executive of Uber was a big moment for me and I couldn't be happier to pass the torch to such an inspiring leader," Kalanick said. (Reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco, additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Bill Rigby)