Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi ended a conference call about the company’s fourth quarter earnings with an ominous message. “Just a big thank you to our global employee base for an improved 2016 and certainly an improved end to the year,” he said, adding, “And hopefully we will all be alive to see the end of next year.”
Though not explicitly stated, the CEO’s outspoken opposition to Trump from within the tech industry informs these unusual remarks. Early on in the call, Khosrowshahi voiced concern over the recently overturned travel ban, “We were frankly worried about the chaos and volatility and the uncertainty and the effect it would have on general business trends and especially travel.”
Expedia was among the first of a number of tech companies to file charges against Trump’s executive order on immigration, citing the harm it could potentially do to its employees and customers. Amazon also filed suit.
Khosrowshahi himself is an immigrant from Iran, one of the seven countries with a Muslim majority included in the travel ban. Last Sunday, he sent an email to Expedia employees, condemning the executive order.
The CEO has expressed discontentment with Trump even before the travel ban. The night Trump won the election, Khosrowshahi tweeted, “As tech leaders we have to admit that we are hugely disconnected with our nation. I don’t like it but have to recognize this issue.”
As tech leaders we have to admit that we are hugely disconnected with our nation. I don't like it but have to recognize this issue.
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) November 9, 2016
Expedia’s declaration as part of Washington State’s lawsuit against President Trump outlines the damaging potential of the ban. According to the document, “Expedia believes that the executive order jeopardizes its corporate mission and could have a detrimental impact on its business and employees, as well as the broader U.S. and global travel and tourism industry.”
The declaration requested a temporary restraining order against the ban. The original executive order was halted a week ago by a Seattle judge, and overturned completely on Thursday in a San Fransisco appeals court.