Uber board to vote on whether to cut ex-CEO Kalanick's power

Tyrone Stewart

Travis KalanickUber’s board is reportedly discussing the idea of removing much of ex-CEO Travis Kalanick’s power, after he appointed two new board members without any prior consultation with his fellow board members or the company’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

According to Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the matter, a vote will be held tomorrow (3 October) on board reforms and whether to proceed with a $10bn stock sale to Japanese internet powerhouse SoftBank.

The reforms, if voted in favour of, would create equal voting power among shareholders, move the company closer toward an initial public offering in the next two years, and limit Kalanick’s power as a shareholder and board member. Kalanick is said to not be in favour of the reforms, as they would shift power from the board to Khosrowshahi.

Kalanick, who resigned from his position as CEO in June, continues to ruffle feathers at the company despite no longer being in charge. He holds three of the 11 board seats at Uber, and decided on Friday to fill the two spare seats out-of-the-blue with former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns.

Khosrowshahi, in an email to employees, said: “Travis appointed two new members to Uber’s board without discussing it with me or the board of directors more broadly. Anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual.”

In addition, Kalanick is currently being sued by Benchmark Capital, an early investor in Uber which owns 13 per cent of the ride hailing firm, for fraud and breach of contract, among other things. The lawsuit has been deemed a “public and personal attack” by the former CEO, something that the others on the board agree with.