Uber CEO Khosrowshahi says leaks were 'painful' but ultimately 'incredibly positive'

  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the media played a "very, very big part" in ending the take-no-prisoners culture he had inherited on joining the San Francisco company.
  • "The leaks, etc. led Uber to finally understand that it had to make the changes that it is making as a company to break for the past and go forward as a company that does the right thing," Khosrowshahi says.

Uber's chief executive said Tuesday the scandals that have plagued the company will ultimately help to ensure it does the "right thing" in the future.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the media played a "very, very big part" in ending the take-no-prisoners culture he had inherited on joining the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company.

"There is more information now about what is happening," he said. "I'm a little mixed because at Uber there has been a ton of leaks, etc., about what's happened to Uber, and that's not necessarily a great way to run a company."

"But if I step back then, the leaks and the Susan Fowler exposure, etc. ... it not only started a real cultural change that was painful for Uber but incredibly positive. The leaks, etc., led Uber to finally understand that it had to make the changes that it is making."

Fowler was an Uber engineer who in a blogpost in February revealed systemic sexism at the company.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber.
Adam Galica | CNBC

Khosrowshahi, who joined the pioneer of ride-hailing services last August, has pledged to make a clean break with the company's past practices but has been hamstrung by the ongoing fallout from decisions taken by his predecessor and co-founder, Travis Kalanick.

In addition to the workplace culture, the start-up is recovering from a massive data breach and regulatory scrutiny.

Also Tuesday, Khosrowshahi told CNBC the "moral compass of the company" was not pointing in the right direction under his predecessor.

Kalanick did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.