Meet Jeff Immelt, the man tipped to become Uber's new chief executive, replacing Travis Kalanick

Lynsey Barber
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Jeff Immelt has spent his entire career at GE (Source: Getty)

Jeff Immelt, the outgoing chief executive and chairman of General Electric (GE), has been identified as the front runner for taking on the top job at troubled Uber.

The seasoned executive has caught the eye of the Uber board who have been searching for a replacement for founder Travis Kalanick to steer the company back on course after months of trouble, Recode reports, citing unnamed sources.

Kalanick left the top job in June but has since argued he was pushed out by one of Uber's earliest investors, Benchmark Capital, after the death of his mother. The claims were made In court papers filed last week seeking to dismiss a lawsuit by Benchmark, which has accused the founder of fraud in his control of the Uber board.

The infighting is just the latest incident in a dramatic year for the company. Accusations of sexual harassment and a toxic work culture surfaced at the start of the year which resulted in a major review and the departures of several executives.

Read more: Uber's Kalanick claims investor lawsuits are designed to victimise him

Departures unrelated to the review have left Uber with gaping holes in its top team. In addition to the CEO search, it needs a finance chief, chief operating officer, head of engineering, operations chief, head of driverless car tech, chief business officer and president.

Kalanick was forced to apologise after he was caught yelling at an Uber driver and the company is facing a lawsuit by Google's self-driving car arm, Waymo, which has accused it of infringing patents.

So, who is Immelt, the man who could get Uber back in gear? Here's what you need to know.

The GE man

Immelt was named chief executive and chairman of GE in 2000. He stepped down in June after a career at the conglomerate that started in 1982. HIs father was once a manager at the company, according to a New York Times profile from 2010.

During his time at the top, he oversaw GE's wind down from financial services, which had once accounted for more than half of its business. By the time of the financial crisis, this part of the business was so big that regulators considered it a threat to financial stability, or "too big to fail". It shed this status last year.

In addition to the financial crisis, he also dealt with the fallout from the 9/11 terror attacks which happened only four days into his tenure.

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He succeeded Jack Welch, one of the then most respected CEO's in the world, leaving big boots to fill. As well as downsizing its operations in finance, Immelt led the sell-off of NBC as well as its plastics and appliance businesses. And he wanted to turn GE into one of the top 10 software businesses by 2020 with a focus on the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

At the age of 61, Immelt brings an additional 20 years of experience on Kalanick. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and studied mathematics as Dartmouth College.

Immelt was a member of President Donald Trump's manufacturing council but quit before it was disbanded this week, saying he found Trump's comments on violence in Charlottesville "deeply troubling".

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