Uber Technologies logo sites on its office in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Uber Is Said to Favor VMware's Rowe for CFO Ahead of 2019 IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. has chosen VMware Inc.’s Zane Rowe as the top candidate for chief financial officer to lead preparations for what could be the biggest initial public offering of 2019, people familiar with the matter said.

The ride-hailing company is in advanced talks with Rowe, who currently has the same position at VMware, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters. An agreement hasn’t been finalized, and negotiations could fall through, one of the people said.

Uber and VMware declined to comment. Rowe couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Before joining VMware, Rowe was CFO at Continental Airlines and led North American sales for Apple Inc. He would be the latest high-profile man to join the executive ranks under Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi. Since taking over in September, Khosrowshahi hired PepsiCo Inc.’s Tony West as chief legal counsel and Orbitz’s Barney Harford as chief operating officer.

Uber has indicated it’s seeking senior women for other roles, but Khosrowshahi said this month he doesn’t want to get in a bidding war for talent. “The focus on recruitment is a little bit of a sugar high,” he said onstage at the Women in the World Summit in New York. “My focus at Uber isn’t going to get a sugar high. It’s to develop the great women we already have at Uber and to make them be great senior women at Uber.”

VMware is caught in the middle of contentious debates over how to integrate Michael Dell’s technology empire. At one point, Dell Technologies Inc. was considering a reverse merger with VMware, but it’s now leaning against that path, Bloomberg reported last week. VMware shareholders had resisted the idea of a reverse merger.

Rowe would help Uber move closer to an IPO, which could happen as soon as late 2019. The San Francisco-based company has been valued at as much as $72 billion, which makes it one of the most significant public-market debuts in the pipeline.

VMware shares were little changed at $137.06 at 9:37 a.m. in New York Thursday. They are up 9.8 percent so far this year.

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