Uber finally hires a CFO as it heads for an IPO

Uber’s search for a chief financial officer — and the person who will steer the company toward an IPO — is over. The ride-hailing company said Tuesday its new CFO is Nelson J. Chai, the former CEO of insurance and warranty provider Warranty Group.

Chai has the kind of experience Uber will need to navigate a successful IPO. Last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said an IPO for Uber was part of his plans. He targeted 2019 for the IPO.

The road to an IPO will require some financial belt-tightening, a role Chai would handle as CFO.

Uber reported August 15 a net revenue of $2.7 billion in the second quarter, an 8 percent increase compared to the previous quarter and 51 percent higher than the same quarter last year.

Uber recorded gross bookings, which is the total taken for all of Uber’s transportation services, of $12 billion, a 6 percent quarter-over-quarter increase and a 41 percent year-over-year increase. However, Uber also saw its losses grow to $404 million in the second quarter compared to a $304 million shortfall in the first quarter.

Before Chai was at Chicago-based Warranty Group, he spent more than five years at CIT Group. He was also CFO of Merrill Lynch & Co.; NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange; and Archipelago Holdings, the first fully electronic stock exchange in the United States.

“I’m incredibly excited to bring on someone as experienced and thoughtful as Nelson,”  Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “He will be a great partner for me and the entire management team as we move towards becoming a public company.”

Chai also serves on the boards of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.