Former Uber CEO Kalanick replies to venture capital firm's lawsuit

18 August, 2017, 19:49 | Author: Oscar Goodwin
  • Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he is 'baffled' by the bombshell lawsuit that claims he committed fraud

Kalanick, responding to the lawsuit in court filing, said Benchmark's legal action is part of a larger scheme to oust him from the company he helped found and take away his power.

Kalanick stepped down as the tech company's boss in June, following months of scandals and shareholder pressure, as well as the death of his mother in a boating accident.

Benchmark, which is suing for fraud, called this an attempt to "entrench himself on Uber's board of directors and increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends".

Former Uber CEO Kalanick said Benchmark Capital has no proof for its accusation. Kalanick also contends that he did not voluntarily surrender three seats he controlled on Uber's board.

Benchmark alleged information was withheld about the following: Pervasive gender discrimination and sexual harassment that prompted an investigation by former Attorney General Eric Holder; the alleged theft of medical records belonging to an Uber passenger who was raped in India; and self-driving vehicle startup Otto, which was acquired by Uber and is at the center of an ongoing lawsuit with Alphabet's Waymo. "Not only does Benchmark's fraud claim defy common sense, it is belied by the fact that Kalanick did not fill any of the new seats for a year, and only ever filled one of them (with himself) after resigning as CEO".

In court documents, Kalanick says that Benchmark's demands are subject to mandatory arbitration, meaning the DE court has no jurisdiction to settle the issue.

Benchmark, which has also invested in names such as DropBox, Twitter and SnapChat, has taken issue with a change which Kalanick made to the board structure in 2016. The lawsuit seeks to kick Kalanick, who already has lost his CEO role, off the board of the company he founded, and prevent him from filling two additional board seats with his supporters.

"The Benchmark principals also handed Kalanick a draft resignation letter, and told him he had hours to sign it, or else Benchmark would start a public campaign against him", the court filing said.

Kalanick challenges Benchmark's claims, citing that they're based only on "information and belief", and "citations to unverified media reports and allegations in other lawsuits".

In the lawsuit, Benchmark claims that it owns 13% of the company, as well as 20% of the voting rights. "But failing to act now would mean endorsing behaviour that is utterly unacceptable in any company, let alone a company of Uber's size and importance".

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