Uber investor sues Travis Kalanick for fraud and more

August 10, 2017, 4:28pm

Uber’s investors attempting to rescue the troubled Silicon Valley ride-hailing giant aren’t done putting the screws to former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Benchmark Capital, one of Uber’s biggest investors, sued Kalanick on Thursday in a Delaware court for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. The firm, which also reportedly led the charge to push Kalanick out of the company, alleges that Kalanick worked to “entrench himself on Uber’s Board of Directors and increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends.” Axios first reported the news.

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Kalanick, who maintains a seat on Uber’s board, had reportedly discussed attempting a comeback as CEO after being forced out in an investor revolt in mid-June. Uber said to VICE News that it would not be responding to Benchmark’s suit, and Benchmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A statement attributed to Kalanick describes the suit as “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

“This is continued evidence of Benchmark acting in its own best interests contrary to the interests of Uber, its employees and its other shareholders,” a spokesperson for Kalanick told VICE News. “Benchmark’s lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create. 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.”

Kalanick’s exit followed months of stories about a toxic corporate culture at Uber, sustained conflicts with regulators around the world, and a blockbuster lawsuit with Google’s self-driving car unit over a former star Uber engineer who allegedly stole trade secrets. It is Kalanick’s alleged mismanagement — and his maneuvering to stack the Uber board of directors with his allies — that prompted Benchmark’s lawsuit, which aims to push him out of the company entirely.

Uber is still searching for a chief executive to replace Kalanick atop the $70 billion company, and it is still missing a number of people in key leadership positions after a flood of executive departures. And that list of departures is growing — also on Thursday, Uber’s first employee and VP of operations Garrett Camp told employees that he would be resigning.