Monday, 23 July, 2018

'Destructive' lawsuit looms over scandal-hit Uber

2018_Toyota_Camry_1 We can think of eight great reasons to choose a Camry. But that doesn't mean this beloved family sedan is perfect
Kayla Schwartz | 13 August, 2017, 22:20

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.

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 past year to increase its membership from eight to 11 and to give Kalanick sole appointment rights. It accused Kalanick of breaching his fiduciary duty and contractural obligations by loading up Uber's board with friends.

The letter was referring to a May boating accident that killed Kalanick's mother and injured his father even as the hard-charging Uber co-founder was losing his position as CEO of the company. Therefore, he "sought to grant himself a way to play an ongoing leadership role at Uber once the truth came out" and attempted to "pack the board" with "loyal allies" in an effort to "insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as 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".

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. According to ArsTechnica, the investors think, Benchmark's action "held the company hostage to public relations disaster".

FTSE 100 plunges as investors worry about U.S. and North Korea tensions
As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped by 2.3 basis points to 2.189%. U.S. stocks saw their largest losses since May on Thursday, as tensions mounted between North Korea and the US.

Those range from another lawsuit filed again Uber by Waymo to the manner in which the medical records of the Indian rape victim got mishandled.

The company's problems are not confined to its internal battles over bullying and sexual harassment claims - in early June 20 employees were fired following an investigation into 215 harassment complaints. That revelation's impact was somewhat lessened by the fact that Graves would remain as a member of the board.

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".

Kalanick is yet to respond to this allegation but the charges against him are many varied. The suit accuses the former CEO of mismanagement and packing the board with supporters.

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