Ma­jor in­vestor su­ing ride-hail­ing com­pany

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc. faced a fresh round of tur­moil Thurs­day, with its global op­er­a­tions chief re­sign­ing and a ma­jor in­vestor su­ing the ride-hail­ing com­pany’s for­mer CEO.

Ryan Graves told Uber staff in an email Thurs­day that he will tran­si­tion out of his role as se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of global op­er­a­tions in mid-Septem­ber. Graves will re­main on Uber’s board.

That board - and its sup­port for for­mer CEO Travis Kalan­ick was the sub­ject of a law­suit filed Thurs­day in Delaware Chancery Court by Bench­mark Cap­i­tal Part­ners.

Bench­mark holds 13 per cent of Uber’s stock. It claims Kalan­ick is try­ing to pack Uber’s board with his al­lies and even­tu­ally re­turn to his post as CEO. The ven­ture cap­i­tal firm says that would harm Uber’s share­hold­ers, em­ploy­ees, drivers and cus­tomers.

A spokesper­son for Kalan­ick said the law­suit is “com­pletely with­out merit and rid­dled with lies and false al­le­ga­tions.”

In the law­suit, Bench­mark claims Kalan­ick con­cealed ma­te­rial in­for­ma­tion from in­vestors when he cre­ated three new board seats in 2016 and gave him­self the right to ap­point peo­ple to those seats. Among other things, Bench­mark said, Kalan­ick knew Uber might be ac­cused of steal­ing trade se­crets from Waymo, Google’s self-driv­ing car unit. Waymo sued Uber ear­lier this year.

The law­suit also says Kalan­ick didn’t dis­cuss his fail­ure to curb Uber’s per­va­sive cul­ture of dis­crim­i­na­tion and sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Kalan­ick re­signed un­der pres­sure in June af­ter a month­s­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ha­rass­ment and other be­hav­iour prob­lems at the San Fran­cisco-based com­pany. But he quickly ap­pointed him­self to one of the three board seats. The other two re­main va­cant.

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