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Uber shareholders revolt against venture firm after surprise lawsuit

13 August 2017, 03:23 | Melvin Schneider

Things could go from bad to worse for Travis Kalanick

Things could go from bad to worse for Travis Kalanick

After Kalanick resigned in June, he appointed himself to one of those seats.

The gist: "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations", the former CEO's spokesperson says. Meanwhile, other Uber investor did not appreciate Benchmark Capital's move to sue Travis. The other two are still unfilled.

Benchmark alleged in its suit that pertinent information was hidden from investors and that Uber's own CEO had known beforehand that Waymo might sue.

The suit revolves around a decision previous year to increase Uber's board from eight seats to 11, with those additional three seats in the sole control of Kalanick.

The suit centers around the creation of three additional board seats at Uber in June 2016. Benchmark's dismay with Kalanick stems from the former CEO's alleged machinations of Uber's board that were guaranteed to keep him in influence despite resigning as CEO. After a former Uber employee wrote a story detailing sexual harassment and an environment that discriminated against women, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder oversaw an investigation into the company's culture. Planting his own men in the board is also seen as an attempt to prevent his own wrongdoings from getting scrutinized.

What seems to have triggered the latest round of spat is Kalanick's refusal to let go of his privilege to appoint three board seats. "Benchmark's lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create".

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Benchmark's suit comes on the heels of another lawsuit from Waymo, Google's self-driving auto unit, which had also sued Uber. "Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected".

© 2017 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media.

Other board seats belong to former Uber CEO Ryan Graves, co-founder Garrett Camp, TPG Capital, Nestle's Wan Martello, Didi Chuxing's CEO, Saudi Arabia's Public investment fund and Arianna Huffington, who co-founded HuffPost.

In the past year alone, Kalanick has been accused of fostering a toxic work environment ridden with sex-harassment allegations, bleeding top talent and stealing trade secrets by hiring a Google executive to lead its driverless-car initiative.

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