Drivers Call London's Uber Ban Racist, Anti-Immigrant

06 October, 2017, 00:37 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Uber's boardroom warfare continues: Vote would further hobble Travis Kalanick

Kalanick, the controversial former chief executive officer, and venture capital firm Benchmark, the largest shareholder, were among those with outsize voting power before the latest changes. Kalanick was forced to resign as CEO in June after a series of missteps, including the controversy surrounding the company's use of "Greyball" software, which helped drivers avoid controls and accusations of sexual harassment. The board also set a deadline for the closely held company to go public in the next two years, the people said. On Tuesday, the directors, led by Khosrowshahi, moved to decrease the power of Kalanick and other early executives and investors by removing certain voting privileges from their Uber shares.

The board has proposed re-tooling Uber's governance structure to diminish the power of some shareholders - Class B shareholders now have 10-to-1 voting power, but that would change to one vote per share, said Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos, who represents the group of shareholders, which includes outspoken investor Shervin Pishevar.

After several hours of deliberations, Uber's board agreed to a series of sweeping changes that will overhaul the way the board operates and who calls the shots, significantly reducing the power of Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider.

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Shareholders will now have one vote per share, ending a class of supervoting shares in a move that substantially decreases the power of Kalanick and some other early investors, the report said.

Uber and Transport for London, which oversees much of the city's public transport system, issued separate statements after the meeting between Khosrowshahi and Mike Brown, London's transport commissioner. Again, he appointed Burns and Thain as new board directors in an attempt to have more advantage in the board.

Spokesman for Uber and Kalanick declined to comment.

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On Aug. 30, media mogul and Uber board member Arianna Huffington posted a happy photo to her Twitter account. To prepare for that, the company would create two new board seats for SoftBank as well as hire three additional independent directors and a chairperson, bringing membership on the board to 17 people. Benchmark is a major proponent of the changes while Kalanick is opposed. The board has now reportedly been enlarged to 17 members, up from 11.

Jo Bertram will leave Uber U.K.in the next few weeks to take up an undisclosed new role outside the company. At least half the board and half of shareholders would need to approve his appointments, however.

Governance policies adopted by the board would make it hard for Kalanick to return as CEO.

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A new provision also makes it more hard for company leadership to fire the new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, before the planned IPO-they would need to vote by a two-thirds majority to make such a change.

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