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Uber, beset by scandal, faces battle over ‘destructive’ lawsuit

August 13, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO: Ride-services company Uber is facing a divided board of directors and angry shareholders after investor Benchmark Capital filed a lawsuit against the company’s ousted chief executive, Travis Kalanick, dealing another blow to the firm as it struggles to recover from a series of scandals and hire a new leader.

On Friday morning, three Uber investors asked Benchmark to divest its shares and step down from Uber Technologies Inc’s board, according to an email published by news website Axios and confirmed by Reuters.

Also on Friday, members of the board of directors sent an email to Uber staff expressing dismay over the Benchmark lawsuit, according to a copy of the note obtained by Reuters.

“The Board of Directors is disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation,” the directors wrote. “The Board has urged both parties to resolve the matter cooperatively and quickly, and the Board is taking steps to facilitate that process.”

Benchmark, in its lawsuit filed on Thursday, is seeking to force Kalanick off the board, and accuses him of concealing a range of misdeeds and scheming to retain power at the company even after he was forced to resign as chief executive in June.

Benchmark was among the Uber investors in June who pressed Kalanick to step down after a string of setbacks.

Investors Shervin Pishe­var of Sherpa Capital, Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Com­panies and Adam Leber, an angel investor who works for music company Maverick, on Friday wrote an email to shareholders and board members calling for Benchmark to remove itself from the company board and divest enough of its shares so that it would no longer have the right to appoint other board seats.

“We have investors ready to acquire these shares as soon as we receive communication from Benchmark that they are willing to withdraw their lawsuit and sell a minimum of 75 per cent of their holdings,” the email said, according to Axios.

Reuters confirmed the email with a source close to one of the investors. The three investors and Bench­mark could not be reached for comment.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017