Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Uber investor sues former CEO Kalanick for fraud

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Nellie Chapman | 13 August, 2017, 12:36

Yet another sign Uber is looking to move on to its next phase: Ryan Graves, an early Uber employee and the only other person to serve as the company's chief executive, resigned on Thursday as senior vice president of global operations.

Besides claims of fraudulent behavior, Benchmark's lawsuit also notes several controversies that have put Uber in a pickle, including its dispute with Waymo, a mishandled rape case in India, sexist allegations, and its alleged tracking program called Greyball. It accused Kalanick of breaching his fiduciary duty and contractural obligations by loading up Uber's board with friends.

However, one Uber investor told reporters that Kalanick's continued role at the company has complicated the CEO search and scared off some good candidates. 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.

Kalanick resigned stating that he loves Uber more than anything but if his resignation will bring back the glory days of the company, he said, he is willing to step down from his position.

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

Benchmark is asking the court to invalidate the agreement to increase the board by three seats and kick Kalanick off the board altogether.

The investors' email, which was obtained by Axios, requests Benchmark remove itself from the board in order to allow Uber to "realize its full potential by allowing the necessary work to be done in the Board Room rather than Courtroom". The firm also wants the court to suspend any board level voting, like hiring a new CEO, for the time being. "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".

Uber said it had no comment on the lawsuit.

'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, ' the statement said.

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

Travis Kalanick is accused of not honouring the agreements he reached with other investors following his ouster from the post of the chief executive.

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