Emil Michael

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Emil G. Michael
Born (1972-09-19) September 19, 1972 (age 50)
EducationHarvard University (B.A.)
Stanford University (J.D.)
Known forExecutive at Uber
Political partyRepublican[1]

Emil G. Michael (Arabic: إيميل مايكل ; born September 19, 1972)[2] is an Egyptian-born American businessman. Michael was the Senior Vice President of Business and Chief Business Officer at Uber, and the Chief Operating Officer of Klout.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Cairo, Egypt,[3] Michael is a Coptic Christian who moved to the United States with his family in the early 1970s.[4][5] Michael received his B.A. in Government cum laude from Harvard University, where he wrote for the Harvard Crimson and served as president of the Harvard Republican Club.[1] During his presidency, the club changed its name to the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Club in an effort to reach out to potential female members.[1] He received his J.D. degree with honors from Stanford Law School.[3]


Gemini Consulting[edit]

Michael started his career as a strategy consultant at Gemini Consulting's Converging Markets Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[6]

Goldman Sachs[edit]

After law school, Michael served as an Associate in the Communications, Media and Entertainment Investment Banking Group at Goldman Sachs in New York. He also worked on merger and hostile takeover advisory projects and equity and bank debt financing.[7] He left Goldman Sachs in 1999.[8]

Tellme Networks[edit]

Michael was an executive at internet-telephony startup Tellme Networks for nine years, from June 1999 until 2008.[7][9][10] Tellme was a forerunner of speech recognition technology. The company was sold to Microsoft for approximately $800 million in 2007.[10]

Department of Defense[edit]

Michael was selected as one of 15 White House Fellows[11] during the first year of the Obama administration,[12] where he served as a Special Assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates[13] from 2009 until 2011.[8][14][15] Michael has stated that he spent time on assignment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other destinations.[16]

Tech consultant[edit]

After his tenure at the Pentagon, Michael acted as a consultant to technology companies in New York.[5]


In July 2012, he became Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Klout.[17][18] He held the COO title until September 2013 when he left to join Uber.[14] Klout was sold to Lithium for approximately $200 million in early 2014.[19]


Michael joined Uber as Senior Vice President of Business in September 2013.[20] He acted as CEO Travis Kalanick's right-hand-man, helping the company raise nearly $15 billion from key investors worldwide.[21][22] By February 2018, Uber became the world's most valued private technology company and had raised the most money of any private start-up in history.[23]


Michael was a key player in the development of Uber's ride-sharing efforts in China, taking an investment of $2 billion to a value of $7 billion in 2016.[24] He also worked on creating new partnerships with Chinese companies such as Baidu.[25][26] Michael led the merger of Uber's China operations with that of the local competitor Didi Chuxing in August 2016.[24][27] In June 2021, Didi raised $4.4 billion in its IPO.[28]


In 2017, Michael helped negotiate a deal with Yandex, the largest technology firm and most popular internet search engine in Russia, known as the "Google of Russia,"[29] in which Uber owned 36.6 percent of a joint ride-sharing entity in Russia.[30] Uber invested $225 million, and Yandex invested $100 million.[31][32]


In June 2021, Michael was one of several investors that led the funding of Checkstop, AI-based software designed to help moderate content on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.[33]

Vetted for cabinet post[edit]

In August 2019, it was revealed that the Trump administration considered Michael for the job of Secretary of Transportation at the time that Trump was forming his government, in early 2016. The job ended up going to Elaine Chao.[34]

SPAC IPO[edit]

Michael, Chairman and CEO of DPCM Capital planned to file for an initial public offering of $250 million for a blank check company. Eric Schmidt is a special advisor to DPCM.[35]

Journalism controversy[edit]

While at Uber, Michael became embroiled in a controversy over the company's relationship with journalists. On November 17, 2014, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith reported that Uber senior executive Emil Michael "outlined the notion of spending 'a million dollars'" to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. He said that team could help Uber fight back against the press by looking into "personal lives, your families". Michael believed his disclosure was "off the record," Michael claimed merely to have asked why journalists can write what he thought were false stories and attack pieces about business people.[36][37] Michael claims to have suggested that Uber hire a team of opposition researchers and journalists, give them a million-dollar budget, and have the team attack journalists who wrote negative stories about Uber. He specifically targeted Sarah Lacy, a journalist who worked for Pando Daily and had criticized the misogynist practices and culture of Uber.[38] Sarah accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny" specifically of Uber's Chief Executive Officer, Travis Kalanick. Travis later made a series of apologetic tweets claiming Emil Michael's comments did not represent the company's views.[39] The controversy made national news and stirred criticism against Uber. Michael later apologized for his words.[40][41]

Karaoke bar controversy[edit]

In 2014, several local Uber employees in Seoul, South Korea, invited Michael with them to visit a "hostess escort-karaoke bar" during a business trip.[42] Four of the other men in the group picked hostesses out of a lineup, and then went to the bar to sing Karaoke.[43] One of the female Uber managers in the group felt uncomfortable during this encounter and reported the event to HR at Uber about one year later.[44] Although the issue had already been resolved, the story came out in March 2017 when Michael contacted Gabi Holzwarth, CEO Kalanick's ex-girlfriend, who had also been in the group at the Karaoke bar, to warn her about an upcoming article in the press.[45] Holzwarth claims that Michael asked her to keep the visit to the hostess bar quiet, among other accusations, in the year after her relationship with Mr. Kalanick ended in 2016. Michael has expressed remorse and apologized for "attending and failing to prevent" the visit to the bar.[43] Three months after the March article, Michael left his position at Uber after four years at the company.[42]

Non-profit board memberships[edit]

In 2014, Michael, and eight others, were appointed to the Pentagon's Defense Business Board. The eight joined 15 members already sitting on the board, which was created in 2002 to provide independent advice on the private sector. Michael was the only one of the new appointees to have experience with startups.[46][47][48][49]


Michael has invested and/or advised in the following startups:


Michael was named one of the “Most Creative People in Marketing"[63] and one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” in 2014 by Fast Company.[64][65]

Personal life[edit]

Michael married his longtime girlfriend, Julie Herrin, in a ceremony in Miami, Florida, in early 2018. The couple met in 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.[66]


  1. ^ a b c "GOP Club Changes Its Name | News | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  2. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vols. 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2011.
  3. ^ a b "President Obama Appoints 2009-2010 Class of White House Fellows". whitehouse.gov. June 25, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2014 – via National Archives.
  4. ^ "Emil G. Michael | Writer Profile | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Uber's Michael Said to Retain Support After Remarks". Bloomberg.com. November 21, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "Emil Michael: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Emil Michael: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Uber's Michael Said to Retain Support After Remarks". Bloomberg.com. November 21, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Klout's New COO Proves The Kleiner Perkins Network Is Alive And Well". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Jackson, Eric (October 23, 2017). "Tellme is one of the best Silicon Valley companies most people have never heard of". CNBC. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Gordon College White House Fellows Project : List by Class Year". whitehousefellowsproject.org. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Campbell, Nicole (November 21, 2014). "What Was Said at the Uber Dinner". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Uber to Donate $1 Million to U.S. Veteran Organizations". Fortune. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Uber Now Has an Executive Advising the Pentagon". Wall Street Journal. August 12, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "Meet the Egyptian Entrepreneur at the Helm of Uber's Global Operations". Cairo Scene. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "The US$17B man: Uber exec hangs on despite bizarre remarks about digging up dirt on journalists". Financial Post. November 21, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "When A Startup Worth Hundreds Of Millions Goes Dark: Klout's Quiet Year Of Growth And Struggle". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Isaac, Mike (July 2, 2012). "Klout Names Emil Michael as COO". All Things D. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Klout acquired for $200 million by Lithium Technologies". Fortune. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "Uber Makes 3 Big Hires, Nabs Klout's Former COO Plus Executives From Facebook And Google". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  21. ^ Somerville, Heather. "True price of an Uber ride in question as investors assess firm's..." U.S. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "A Top Uber Executive Departs, Fraying the Company's 'A-Team'". Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  23. ^ "Uber: 39 Facts About The Most Controversial Yet Most Valued Startup - Dazeinfo". Dazeinfo. March 22, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Sile, Aza Wee (December 9, 2016). "Senior Uber exec: Chinese government treated us fairly". CNBC. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "Meet the power players who really run $69 billion Uber". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  26. ^ 赵思远. "Uber to expand to 60 cities in China". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Isaac, Paul Mozur and Mike. "Uber to Sell to Rival Didi Chuxing and Create New Business in China". Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  28. ^ Levy, Ari (June 30, 2021). "Blockbuster IPO day produces big gains for Uber, Delta Air Lines and tech VCs". CNBC. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  29. ^ "'The Google of Russia' just announced its own smart speaker — here's what it can do". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  30. ^ "Uber's Russian Deal Can Be a Model for Its Future". Bloomberg.com. July 14, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  31. ^ "Uber and Yandex, a Russian Ride-Hailing Rival, Opt to Share the Road". Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  32. ^ "Uber is ending its uphill battle in Russia and merging with top competitor Yandex". Recode. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  33. ^ "Exclusive: London-based startup Checkstep raises £1.3M funding to employ AI-based content moderation solution". UKTN (UK Tech News). June 28, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  34. ^ "Former Uber exec Emil Michael was vetted by Trump for a Cabinet position". Axios. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  35. ^ "Former Uber Executive Emil Michael to File for $250 Million SPAC IPO – Sources". IPO Edge. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  36. ^ Campbell, Nicole (November 21, 2014). "What Was Said at the Uber Dinner". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  37. ^ "A Top Uber Executive Departs, Fraying the Company's 'A-Team'". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  38. ^ Smith, Ben (November 17, 2014). "Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists". BuzzFeed. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  39. ^ "Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn". The New York Times. November 18, 2014. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  40. ^ Hern, Alex (November 18, 2014). "Uber exec apologises after suggesting firm dig dirt on journalists". the Guardian. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  41. ^ "The stoning of Uber's Emil Michael". POLITICO. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  42. ^ a b "A Top Uber Executive Departs, Fraying the Company's 'A-Team'". Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  43. ^ a b Chang, Emily. Brotopia. p. 110.
  44. ^ Efrati, Amir (March 25, 2017). "Uber Group's Visit to Seoul Escort Bar Sparked HR Complaint". The Information.
  45. ^ Lawler, Richard (March 25, 2017). "Uber CEO linked to escort bar visit that resulted in an HR complaint". Engadget.
  46. ^ "An Uber Executive Has Been Appointed To The Pentagon's Business Advisory Group". Business Insider. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  47. ^ "Department Announces New Defense Business Board Members". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  48. ^ Cameron, Doug (August 12, 2014). "Uber Now Has an Executive Advising the Pentagon". WSJ. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  49. ^ Hasik, James. "What Uber Can Teach the Pentagon". Atlantic Council. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  50. ^ "About". Cepi Style. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  51. ^ "Flipboard launches world's first social magazine". WebWire. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  52. ^ "Klout's Joe Fernandez is back with Joymode, an equipment rental startup with a focus on experiences – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  53. ^ "Joymode Venture Capital and Private Equity Financings". www.vcnewsdaily.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  54. ^ "NeuCoin Is A Bitcoin Alternative Designed For Microtransactions – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  55. ^ "Fundbox gets $17.5M to give small businesses money when they need it". VentureBeat. April 10, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  56. ^ "Meet Rise, The Diet App That Helped Me Lose 20 Pounds (And Keep It Off During The Holidays) – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  57. ^ "Kidizen Lets Parents Buy & Sell Kids' "Pre-Loved" Clothing And Other Items Via Their iPhones – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  58. ^ "With $1.3M In Funding, Private Photo-Sharing Service Familiar Replaces Screensavers & Digital Picture Frames – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  59. ^ Gannes, Liz (May 10, 2010). "Swipely Aims to (Politely) Turn Purchases Into Conversations". gigaom.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  60. ^ Yeung, Ken (February 5, 2013). "Ribbon Raises $1.6M In Funding, Launches Facebook In-Stream Support". The Next Web. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  61. ^ "Ribbon Raises $1.6M From Tim Draper & Others, Launches New Way To Take Payments Directly In The Facebook News Feed – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  62. ^ "Funding Daily: Startup Grind". VentureBeat. February 6, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  63. ^ "The Most Creative People In Marketing, 2014". Fast Company. May 21, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  64. ^ "Emil Michael". Fast Company. May 12, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  65. ^ "Veteran Silicon Valley Executive, Emil Michael, Joins Boopsie Advisory Board". PRWeb. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  66. ^ "Julie Herrin, Emil Michael". The New York Times. 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 30, 2018.

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