Uber board ‘disappointed’ by Benchmark’s lawsuit against former CEO

By | 2017-08-12


The Uber saga continues, and the board of directors has weighed in on the brewing battle between early investor Benchmark and former CEO Travis Kalanick.

In wake of a lawsuit Benchmark filed against Kalanick, the company’s board has issued a statement urging both parties to resolve their differences so that employees can get back to work and the company can get back to hiring a new CEO.

Yesterday Benchmark sued Kalanick for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in Delaware Chancery Court. The lawsuit was filed in an effort to kick Kalanick off the board and get rid of a few empty board seats that were added last year, with Benchmark arguing that it never would have approved the addition of those seats had they been aware of Kalanick’s “gross mismanagement” of the company.

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 car unit Waymo.

Benchmark’s lawsuit led some investors earlier today to urge the investment firm to vacate its place on the board and divest enough shares so that it would no longer have board voting rights.

And now, Uber’s board is weighing in, through a statement sent out by Uber co-founder chairman Garrett Camp on behalf of all the directors — or at least, those who are not Kalanick or Benchmark.

In it, the board says it is “disappointed” the disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation and has urged the two parties to resolve the matter “cooperatively and quickly.” It also says that the board is taking steps to facilitate that process, but doesn’t go into details.

Already Camp has said Kalanick will not return as CEO, despite reports that he has been angling to do just that. The specter of the combative founder pulling strings behind the scenes has apparently spooked some CEO candidates, but of course, the litigation by Benchmark probably doesn’t help as the company continues its search for a new chief executive.

Full statement is below:

The Board of Directors is disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation. The Board has urged both parties to resolve the matter cooperatively and quickly, and the Board is taking steps to facilitate that process. At a time when thousands of employees around the world are working hard to serve our drivers and riders and continue to innovate, our priority remains to select Uber’s new CEO as quickly as possible. We are fortunate to have several outstanding candidates who share our belief in Uber’s great future.

Featured Image: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images

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