Uber investor sues co-founder Kalanick

Marco Green
August 12, 2017

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 mismanagement Benchmark cites in the case includes sexual discrimination claims brought against Uber earlier this year, as well as the acquisition of autonomous trucking company Otto, which has led to a trade secret case filed against it by Google-owned self-driving vehicle unit Waymo. They don't hold seats on the board or a majority of the company's stock, but the letter said they're seeking other shareholders to add their signatures.

Uber scandals include a lawsuit by Waymo of Alphabet Inc., sexual harassment, and Kalanick's alleged misconduct. It assured staff that there were "several outstanding candidates" for the CEO job. In doing this, Benchmark says Kalanick will bypass scrutiny for past actions and help "clear the path" to becoming once again Uber's leader.

Benchmark, one of Silicon Valley's top venture-capital firms, insists in its suit that Kalanick's reported transgressions weren't evident when Uber's board voted a year ago to increase its membership from eight to 11 and to give Kalanick sole appointment rights. A spokesman for Kalanick has said the suit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations".

Pishevar did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

The board had a meeting scheduled for Friday, Axios said.

The investors called on Benchmark to remove itself from the company board and divest enough of its shares so that the firm would no longer have the right to appoint other board seats. "Our priority remains to select Uber's new CEO as quickly as possible".

The group says on the petition site, that while they share Benchmark's concerns about Uber's problems in recent months, "we are greatly concerned about the tactics employed by Benchmark to address them, which strike us as ethically dubious and, critically, value-destructive rather than value-enhancing".

Benchmark deployed a similar move in June to unseat Kalanick as chief executive officer. The well-regarded venture firm was an early investor in and said in the lawsuit that it owns 13 per cent of and controls 20 per cent of the voting power.

Kalanick gave up a direct management role in the company after the board voted to adopt a 10 point list of recommendations to improve corporate governance included in a report by an independent legal team that investigated the company's management practices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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