Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has become the latest top business leader to distance himself from the Saudi government as it faces mounting questions over its role in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khosrowshahi said in a statement late Thursday that he is withdrawing from a major business conference in the kingdom this month at which he was due to speak.
“I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement late Thursday. “We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh.”
His announcement is particularly significant because Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is a big shareholder in Uber. In 2016, it invested $3.5 billion in the ride-hailing startup.
The Future Investment Initiative, also known as “Davos in the desert,” is hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is part of his Vision 2030 plan to break the country’s dependence on oil. Khosrowshahi was scheduled to speak about the future of transportation at the event.
He joins a growing list of high-profile figures who have pulled out of the conference as concerns mount about what happened to Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, contributor to the Washington Post and critic of the Saudi regime. Read more