Uber toils to shake off former chief as part of clean-up effort

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San Francisco: Ride-services company Uber is facing a divided board of directors and angry shareholders after investor Benchmark Capital filed a lawsuit against the company's ousted chief executive, Travis Kalanick, dealing another blow to the firm as it struggles to recover from a series of scandals and hire a new leader.

Benchmark, which still holds one of the seats on the board, said that it never would have given Kalanick the three extra seats if it had known about his "gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber", the lawsuit said. Benchmark urged the court to issue an injunction blocking Kalanick from exercising his right to appoint new directors.

The lawsuit also reveals how much stock and voting power are held by Benchmark, one of Uber's early investors, which provides a good comparison.

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To view the full article, register now. The suit, which calls on a DE 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". However, Benchmark also claims that Kalanick has reneged on his promise to make those new directors independent and diverse. The board convened Friday to discuss the lawsuit, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the meeting is private.

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.

Axios, which first broke the story, quoted a Kalanick spokesman who called the suit "a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder".

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In June Kalanick announced he was taking a leave of to mourn the death of his mother. And so he contrived the expansion, "ensuring that he would continue to have an outsized role in Uber's strategic direction even if forced to resign", according to the suit. "Had such information been disclosed to stockholders at the time, Benchmark and other stockholders would not have voted in favor of the amendment".

Kalanick resigned as CEO of Uber on June 20, and in the process, gave up his seat on the company's board because it was reserved for the CEO. The lawsuit accuses Kalanick of knowingly misleading the board to agreeing to increase the board members to 11 from eight, with Kalanick exclusively involved in filling the extra seats.

At this point, Uber is still without a CEO while the board tries to find someone to fill the position. It assured staff that there were "several outstanding candidates" for the CEO job.

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