Uber In­vestor Sues to Force Ex-CEO Off Board

VC firm Bench­mark Cap­i­tal has ac­cused Kalan­ick of rig­ging board

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

San Fran­cisco: A ma­jor Uber in­vestor has sued founder Travis Kalan­ick, ac­cus­ing the re­cently de­parted chief ex­ec­u­tive of cov­er­ing mis­deeds while rig­ging the board in or­der to re­turn to power at the com­pany. Kalan­ick re­sig ned i n June, yield­ing to pres­sure from in­vestors seek­ing to clean up a toxic cor­po­rate cul­ture at Uber. His de­par­ture capped a rocky pe­riod for the global ride-shar­ing gi­ant, which has been roiled by dis­turb­ing re­ports of a cut­throat work­place cul­ture, ha­rass­ment, dis­crim­i­na­tion and ques­tion­able busi­ness tac­tics to thwart ri­vals.

A civil suit filed by Uber in­vestor Bench­mark Cap­i­tal Part­ners ac­cused Kalan­ick of com­mit­ting fraud, breach of con­tract and vi­o­lat­ing fidu­ciary duty by conniving to “en­trench him­self on Uber’s board of di­rec­tors and in­crease his power for his own self­ish ends”. The suit , which c a l l s on a Delaware court to bar Kalan­ick from tin­ker­ing with the Uber board in any way, ar­gued that Kalan­ick saw his res­ig­na­tion as un­avoid­able and fi­na­gled to “pack the board with loyal al­lies in an at­tempt to in­su­late his prior con­duct from scru­tiny and clear the path for his even­tual re­turn as CEO”.

The suit con­tends Kalan­ick es­sen­tially duped Bench­mark into ag reeing to ex­pand the Uber board by three seats to 11 peo­ple, giv­ing the then chief ex­ec­u­tive the power to appoint mem­bers.

At the time, Kalan­ick hid in­for­ma­tion about mis­man­age­ment, in­clud­ing ac­quired self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle firm Otto was sus­pected of hav­ing trade se­crets swiped f r om Goog le - ow ne d Way mo and that an Uber ex­ec­u­tive had wrongly got­ten hold of med­i­cal records of a woman in In­dia raped by an Uber driver there, acc or d i n g t o t he suit. Kalan­ick a lso did n’t men­tion t o B e nc h ma rk “a per­va­sive cult u r e o f g e nder dis­crim­i­na­tion a nd sex ua l ha­rass­ment and a host of other in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­eth­i­cal di­rec­tives” he is­sued, the suit con­tended. Kalan­ick, who had been the d r ivi ng forc e behi nd Uber’s mas­sive global ex­pan­sion and whose brash style had made him a li­a­bil­ity, still holds a large vot­ing stake in the com­pany, whose $68-bil­lion val­u­a­tion makes it the world’s largest ven­ture-backed startup.

The suit con­tends Kalan­ick es­sen­tially duped Bench­mark into agree­ing to ex­pand the Uber board by three seats to 11 peo­ple

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.