Friday, 15 December, 2017

Uber's Graves stepping down from full-time job, stays on board

Uber's first employee steps down from executive role Benchmark Capital Files Suit Against Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Garry Little | 11 August, 2017, 00:26

Ride services company Uber Technologies Inc's head of operations, Ryan Graves, a long-time ally of former chief executive Travis Kalanick, is stepping down from his full-time job at the company, according to a copy of a letter from Graves seen by Reuters.

Earlier this week another longtime Kalanick ally, co-founder Garrett Camp, sent a memo to employees saying that "Travis is not returning as CEO", according to a copy obtained by tech website Recode.

However the lawsuit plays out, and it could take a very long time to play out, the move would seem to make it almost impossible for Kalanick to return - leaving Uber's fate squarely in the hands of the board.

Benchmark further says that in moving to add the three board seats a year ago, Kalanick "intentionally concealed and failed to disclose his gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber" which they say included "pervasive gender discrimination and sexual harassment".

Investor Benchmark Capital is chafing at the idea, however, and filed suit against its former colleague in DE on Thursday for fraud and breach of contract.

The fraud suit goes back to a stockholder vote last summer that expanded the Uber board by three members and gave Kalanick the right to appoint those new members. The firm is also seeking "an award of related damages caused by Kalanick's fraud". Benchmark Capital, which has a board seat at Uber, first invested $11 million in the company during its Series A funding round in 2011.

Benchmark itself has a seat on the board and aided efforts to get the former CEO to resign in June.

Kalanick, who had been the driving force behind Uber's massive global expansion and whose brash style had made him a liability, still holds a large voting stake in the company, whose $68 billion valuation makes it the world's largest venture-backed startup.

Before Kalanick resigned, Uber added three new seats to its board. This is continued evidence of Benchmark acting in its own best interests contrary to the interests of Uber, its employees and its other shareholders.

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