Dara Khosrowshahi was appearing on Axios on HBO when he referenced the killing of Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018 and never emerged.
A UN report said Saudi Arabia bore responsibility for the killing and that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s role should be investigated.
Referring to the government of Saudi Arabia, Khosrowshahi said: “I think that the government said that they made a mistake. Listen, it’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, right?”
“With self-driving and we stopped driving, and we’re recovering from that mistake. So I think that people make mistakes and it doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously.”
Khosrowshahi is thought to have been referring to an incident in 2018 where one of Uber’s self-driving test vehicles struck and killed a female pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.
The Saudi consulate in Istanbul where the journalist was killed had been bugged and Turkish intelligence recorded the planning and the execution. Prince Mohammed later told “60 Minutes” that Khashoggi’s killing was a “heinous crime” and that he took “full responsibility for the killing.”
According to a statement posted on Axios on Monday, Khosrowshahi later appeared to regret his remarks, stating: “I said something in the moment that I do not believe. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused.”
Saudi Arabia is Uber’s fifth-largest shareholder.