Axios: Benchmark Capital sues former Uber CEO

Uber's Graves Stepping Down From Leadership Role

Ryan Graves has served as GM CEO and SVP of Global Operations for Uber

The lawsuit accuses Kalanick of being "selfish" and packing the Uber board with "loyal allies", arguing that Kalanick is trying to lay the groundwork for his own return as CEO.

"A spokesperson for Kalanick issued a statement regarding the lawsuit, saying "[It] is completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations". Uber's troubles over the past year or so are quite well documented, and the scandals that engulfed the company eventually led to the ouster of Travis Kalanick as the CEO.

According to commentators, the move indicated a new low of power politicking, as regards the fate of Uber, valued at almost $70 billion.

Kalanick failed to disclose vital information about the self-driving truck startup Otto before Uber acquired it for $680m in 2016, the complaint alleges.

Benchmark is apparently having none of this and is pushing for the lawsuit in order to prevent Kalanick's return. Soon after, Benchmark joined a group of other Uber investors who conspired to force the embattled CEO to resign.

Now, more than six years later, UberCab is just Uber, and its relationship with Benchmark Capital is a bit more contentious.

The lawsuit is, in essence, a fight for control over Uber's board, and such battles are not unusual, according to legal experts.

"To date, Kalanick's only response has been an email (sent on or around June 30, 2017) that he is "not ready to sign" the amended Voting Agreement", Benchmark said in the suit.

"Even less so your escalation of this fratricidal course - notwithstanding Mr. Kalanick's resignation - through your recent lawsuit, which we fear will cost the company public goodwill, interfere with fundraising and impede the critical search for a new, world-class Chief Executive Officer", he wrote.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is down, but he somehow does not yet consider himself out, according to a Sunday report in the New York Times. Graves will remain on Uber's board.

Recode reported last month that Kalanick was telling colleagues he was "Steve Jobs-ing" - planning to make a comeback at the company akin to the one the late Apple founder made toward the end of 1990s.

Benchmark now owns a 13% stake in Uber while Kalanick owns approximately 10%, according to the suit. They don't hold seats on the board or a majority of the company's stock, but the letter said they're seeking other shareholders to add their signatures. Since Kalanick had the power to choose the seats, he allotted one to himself, as he lost his CEO position.

The bad press that has bombarded Uber includes grievances pertaining to sexual harassment, discrimination, and the alleged theft of Waymo secrets at the hands of an Uber engineer.

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