Uber Ex-CEO Kalanick names new board members in surprise power play
By Greg Bensinger
Appointment of Ursula Burns and John Thain bolsters company co-founder's clout
Uber Technologies Inc.'s ousted chief executive, Travis Kalanick, is appointing two new directors to the ride-hailing firm's board, a surprise move that would bolster his clout as the company faces several critical decisions including a possible multibillion-dollar investment from SoftBank Group Corp.(9984.TO)
Kalanick appointed former Xerox Corp.(XRX) CEO Ursula Burns and former CIT Group Inc.(CIT) CEO John Thain as the 10th and 11th Uber directors, effective Friday, according to a statement from him to The Wall Street Journal.
Read:Uber to lay off 500, shut U.S. auto-leasing business (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-to-lay-off-500-shut-us-auto-leasing-business-2017-09-27)
The Uber co-founder, who resigned as CEO in June, made the appointments without consulting the rest of the board. He was granted control of three board seats as part of $3.5 billion investment from a Saudi wealth fund in 2016.
The appointments could serve as an effort to push back against one of Uber's largest investors, Benchmark Capital, which is suing Kalanick over control of those two seats. The venture firm, which also holds a board seat and led an investor coup to push Kalanick out, has proposed a new voting structure for shareholders allowing them to vote based on the size of their stake, rather than the current system which rewards the earliest investors with greater voting power.
Read:Uber apologizes for London missteps, vows to 'make things right' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-apologizes-for-london-missteps-vows-to-make-things-right-2017-09-25)