A lawsuit filed by investor Benchmark Capital against ousted Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick has raised the ire of three investors who on Friday asked the venture firm to divest its shares and step down from the ride-services company's board, according to an email published by news website Axios. It claims Kalanick deliberately misled investors and found a way to remain involved with the company's decision-making via board seats that Benchmark alleges were "fraudulently procured".
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".
Benchmark's lawsuit marks a rare instance of a Silicon Valley investor suing the central figure at one of its own start-ups.
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A spokesperson for Kalanick said the lawsuit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations".
Bill Gurley, the venture capitalist who led Benchmark's investment into Uber, was once a mentor to Kalanick and one of his closest confidants.
San-Francisco-based Uber is still seeking a new CEO and on Thursday its global operations chief revealed to staff in an email that he would be standing down from the role in mid-September. The firm says Kalanick has already interfered in the board's attempts to hire a new CEO. It's also asking the court to prevent Kalanick from participating in board meetings. Chairman Jeffrey Immelt, called Uber directors expressing dismay after this week's suit, people familiar with the discussions said.
'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.
This past June, Kalanick was forced to vacate his CEO position amid the company's series of scandals and workplace culture controversies.
In the past year alone, Kalanick has been accused of fostering a toxic work environment ridden with sex-harassment allegations, bleeding top talent and stealing trade secrets by hiring a Google executive to lead its driverless-car initiative. No worries. There are plenty of auto safety features that are available, affordably, for ALL cars, not just new ones.