Venture capital firm sues ex-Uber CEO for fraud

Posted August 11, 2017

A civil suit filed by Uber investor Benchmark Capital Partners accused Kalanick of committing fraud, breach of contract, and violating fiduciary duty by conniving to "entrench himself on Uber's board of directors and increase his power for his own selfish ends".

In a lawsuit filed in DE on Thursday, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm, which holds an Uber board seat, accused Kalanick, the company's co-founder, of engaging in a power play to get himself reinstated as CEO.

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Another early Uber employee, Ryan Graves, announced Thursday that he is stepping down from a vice president role but will keep his seat on the board.

Kalanick resigned from the company in June after a revolt from investors following two separate investigations into allegations that Uber's leadership failed to address sexual harassment complaints filed by female employees.

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Uber is now looking for a new CEO, though some have suggested that Kalanick may want to reprise his role. The three new seats, under the new 2016 rules, were to be chosen directly by Kalanick. Kalanick selected himself to fill one of the seats following his departure as CEO.

Benchmark itself has a seat on the board and aided efforts to get the former CEO to resign in June.

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If successful, the Benchmark lawsuit could kick Kalanick off the board of directors, making his return impossible. The complaint says Kalanick still holds about a 10-percent stake in the company. Benchmark said in its lawsuit that it would not have agreed to the three extra seats had it known about the extent of the scandals under Kalanick's leadership. Basically, Benchmark is accusing Kalanick of pulling strings to try and stack the board in his favor, and eventually orchestrate a triumphant return as Uber's CEO. "Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakehodlers and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected".