A civil suit filed by Uber investor Benchmark Capital Partners accused Kalanick of committing fraud, breach of contract, and violating fiduciary duty by conniving to "entrench himself on Uber's board of directors and increase his power for his own selfish ends". Kalanick resigned in June, yielding to pressure from investors seeking to clean up a toxic corporate culture at Uber. It claims Kalanick is trying to pack Uber's board with his allies and eventually return to his post as CEO.
On Friday, three Uber investors asked Benchmark to divest its shares and step down from Uber Technologies' board, according to an e-mail published by news website Axios and confirmed by Reuters. Towards that, Kalanick is also accused of packing his own loyalists in the board just to ensure his accession to the hot seat has the least friction. The other two remain vacant. The lawsuit said Kalanick had known all these but failed to properly disclose them.
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 United States dollars 68 billion valuation makes it the world's largest venture-backed startup.
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.
Travis Kalanick may have stepped down as Uber's CEO, but he hasn't been sitting around idly since then, according to a new lawsuit.
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'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. Kalanick has been tied to these internal crises, with publications painting him as a "pugnacious" CEO with a relentless approach to dealing with business. Uber has vowed to implement the recommendations prepared for it by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Shortly after the allegations put Uber in a bad light, Kalanick himself admitted he needed help with leadership.
The outcome of an emergency board meeting on Friday to address Uber's warring factions could not be determined at press time. "Despite rumors I'm sure you've seen in the news, Travis is not returning as CEO".
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.
"In some ways my focus going forward will not actually change very much - it remains all about people, and it's clear to me the stability of our board of directors, the selection of our new CEO, and the empowerment of our management team is what is needed most", he said.