Uber’s Ousted CEO Travis Kalanick Described a Lawsuit Against Him as ‘a Personal Attack’

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Uber’s ousted CEO Travis Kalanick described a lawsuit towards him as ‘a personal attack’ [Business Insider via Reuters]

Sum and Substance: Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has described a lawsuit towards him as a “public and personal attack” in a courtroom submitting, which we first noticed by way of BuzzFeed News. Kalanick filed his response late on Thursday to the go well with introduced by Benchmark Capital, an early investor in Uber suing him for alleged fraud, breach of contract, and fiduciary obligation.

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The submitting stated: “Benchmark Capital Partners initiated this action as part of its public and personal attack on Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber.” It accused Benchmark of “secretly planning” to oust Kalanick shortly after his mother and father have been concerned in a boating accident, ensuing within the dying of his mom. “It executed its plan at the most shameful of times: immediately after Kalanick experienced a horrible personal tragedy,” the submitting stated.

Kalanick resigned as CEO in late July, after a variety of scandals blew up across the firm, however nonetheless sits on Uber’s board. Benchmark Capital additionally holds a board seat, and says it controls 20% of voting rights. The go well with revolves round a choice in 2016 to broaden Uber’s board of voting administrators from eight to 11, with Kalanick controlling who had these seats. Benchmark claimed it might by no means have allowed the three additional seats if it had recognized about Kalanick’s “gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber”, citing scandals such as Uber’s “Greyball” software program to deceive authorities, and an government apparently accessing a rape sufferer’s medical information in India. Benchmark needs that 2016 determination rescinded, so pushing Kalanick from Uber’s board.

Kalanick’s submitting provides a temporary historical past of Uber, and a timeline of how Kalanick’s July resignation happened. It stated a week-and-a-half after the funeral of Kalanick’s mom, two Benchmark companions went to his lodge room and demanded he step down. “They threatened to launch a public campaign against him if he refused,” the submitting stated. And it stated Benchmark’s allegations of fraud have been “threadbare.”

My Take: Okay, Travis, sure, Benchmark’s go well with was a private and public assault on you. Agreed, now what?  Travis Kalanick’s authorized response to the Benchmark’s fraud lawsuit is telling. In his 15 web page temporary, after all of the compulsory authorized posturing, his fundamental argument is that these issues ought to be determined by an arbiter – not a decide.

Why is that this so necessary to Travis? Because it will maintain all of the sordid particulars out of the general public eye. This seems to be the important thing difficulty for Travis.  It additionally may serve to elucidate why Travis agreed to step down when introduced with that demand letter from Benchmark in Chicago.  Perhaps as the demand letter was introduced to Travis, Benchmark additionally threatened to air all of Travis’s soiled laundry by way of a lawsuit.

Travis had the votes to remain on as CEO.  Why else would Travis have agreed to step down – until he was afraid of what individuals may study concerning the firm and him?  Remember, Uber has not had a CFO for over two years. Could be one thing to consider…

Jeff Immelt has emerged as the front-runner to grow to be Uber’s CEO [Recode]

Sum and Substance: Former General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt has grow to be the front-runner candidate to turn into CEO of Uber, in response to quite a few sources with information of the state of affairs. While the strain on the board of the car-hailing firm stays excessive — due of late to an unsightly lawsuit that certainly one of its main buyers, Benchmark, is waging towards its ousted co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick — sources stated that a majority of the board is coalescing across the skilled Immelt.

That might definitely change, stated sources, and there are two different executives who’re additionally nonetheless being thought-about, neither of whom is a lady, as some had hoped. Sources stated a vote of Uber’s administrators is more likely to occur inside the subsequent two weeks, which doesn’t need to be unanimous, though most administrators are hoping it is going to be. In any case, Immelt has pulled forward, stated a number of sources.

… And, additionally suffice it to say, such machinations are unlikely to faze an skilled CEO like Immelt, which is likely one of the points of interest of him, stated quite a few sources near the deliberations. “He certainly is not someone anyone can push around easily, which is probably his best characteristic,” stated one supply. “We all know Immelt’s not the dynamic entrepreneur that Travis is, but he can certainly settle things down.” Another supply added that Immelt can also be a recognized amount to buyers and Wall Street, as nicely as amongst techies, which might assist enormously when Uber prepares to go public within the coming few years. “Even if Uber sold itself, Jeff could handle that too,” the supply stated.

Also crucial is to cease the concentrate on Uber’s company drama that continues to spin uncontrolled, a lot of it self-inflicted. The Benchmark lawsuit towards Kalanick seems to be the ultimate straw and has been badly acquired by the board and the corporate staff, as properly as by a lot of Silicon Valley.

My Take:  At this level, that is all hypothesis, so I’m not going to get into too deep of an evaluation of Immelt’s qualifications for this job. I’ll save that for when the CEO search has been finalized.

I’ll simply say that anyone who takes this job higher have thick pores and skin, particularly with 433 lawsuits filed towards Uber, simply inside the final yr.  (See article under.) With large questions hovering over the corporate and their technique, their morality and their funds, the truth that somebody of Immelt’s stature is giving this a critical look is encouraging.  If he have been capable of steer Uber to profitability and a profitable IPO, that might be a main accomplishment.



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