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posted by Fnord666 on Monday October 02 2017, @04:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the playing-board-games dept.

In a move that has not amused some of the company's investors and board members, Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick has appointed two new members to Uber's board. The move has been described as a "power play":

Kalanick said in an announcement late Friday that he had appointed Ursula Burns, Xerox Corp.'s former CEO, and John Thain, the ex-Merrill Lynch chief, to the startup's board. Uber challenged the appointments, calling them "a complete surprise."

The former CEO is defending himself against a lawsuit brought by Uber's largest shareholder, Benchmark, over his authority to fill the two board seats. Kalanick says he controls three of the company's eleven board seats. Benchmark is suing Kalanick for fraud and has asked him to relinquish control of board positions. The suit is in private arbitration.

Kalanick resigned as CEO on June 20 after Benchmark and a group of early investors asked him to step down. Uber's board has been rife with infighting and underwent a contentious process to select former Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief.

"I am appointing these seats now in light of a recent board proposal to dramatically restructure the board and significantly alter the company's voting rights," Kalanick said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg. "It is therefore essential that the full board be in place for proper deliberation to occur, especially with such experienced board members as Ursula and John."

Also at NYT, TechCrunch, Recode, and WSJ.


Original Submission

Related Stories

SoftBank to Invest Billions in Uber 7 comments

Uber board strikes agreement to pave way for SoftBank investment

Uber Technologies Inc's warring board members have struck a peace deal that allows a multibillion-dollar investment by SoftBank Group Corp to proceed, and which would resolve a legal battle between former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and a prominent shareholder.

Venture capital firm Benchmark, an early investor with a board seat in the ride-services company, and Kalanick have reached an agreement over terms of the SoftBank investment, which could be worth up to $10 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Uber board first agreed more than a month ago to bring in SoftBank as an investor and board member, but negotiations have been slowed by ongoing fighting between Benchmark and Kalanick. The agreement struck on Sunday removed the final obstacle to allowing SoftBank to proceed with an offer to buy to[sic] stock.

Also at TechCrunch.

Related: Softbank to Invest $50 Billion in the US
SoftBank's $80-100 Billion "Vision Fund" Takes Shape
SoftBank May Sell 25% of ARM to Vision Fund; Chairman Meets With Saudi King
SoftBank Acquires Boston Dynamics and Schaft From Google
Travis Kalanick Appoints Two New Uber Board Members in "Power Play"
Saudi Arabia Planning $500 Billion Megacity and Business Zone


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @05:07AM (16 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @05:07AM (#575769)

    ... when did you say the next season of Dallas [wikipedia.org] is scheduled?

    (in other words, why should I give even the smallest fick possible about Uber coprorate in-fights?)

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday October 02 2017, @05:13AM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday October 02 2017, @05:13AM (#575771) Journal

      It's a Silicon Valley power struggle. The same firm that wants to oust Kalanick thinks Uber will be worth over $100 billion [techcrunch.com] soon. Forget Dallas, maybe Mike Judge will write it into a Silicon Valley [wikipedia.org] script.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @05:25AM

        by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @05:25AM (#575776)

        Forget Dallas, maybe Mike Judge will write it into a Silicon Valley [wikipedia.org] script.

        Why bother? I mean, I saw essentially all the same stuff (just a different shit flavor) back in 1970-80-ies.
        I reckon once is enough, I have less life-time now than I had then.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @05:38AM (11 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @05:38AM (#575778)

      I think the whole story is a good reminder of the dangers of 'investors' for everybody looking to startup their own businesses. Travis brought Uber from a 'yeah, whatever man' to a worldwide business that's not only reshaped transportation forever but also shown the viability of at least semi-decentralized organizations sparking the creation of countless 'the uber of x' clones. And in reward, he was ousted from his company, by the investors he brought on in a good will effort to expand the company and help make everybody a bit wealthier in the process. Never give away majority control of your company - if you do, it's not a question of if but when it will be taken away from you.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @06:10AM (9 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @06:10AM (#575780)

        Travis brought Uber from a 'yeah, whatever man' to a worldwide business

        With money from the previously mentioned investors. Many try to do this and fail due to lack of exposure/publicity.
        Very few manage to do it with their own capital and be successful

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @06:37AM (8 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @06:37AM (#575786)

          It's not necessarily inherently about exposure and publicity.

          The idea is very simple so we take it for granted that that's what decided it. But the reality is that nobody else had yet chosen to pursue this idea in any real fashion. It's a lot like most other startups. Lots of people have good ideas, but then figure 'well, if that was such a good idea - somebody else would definitely have done it already.' But of course in reality, that apathy towards doing things is a bit of self fulfilling prophecy and arguably why the internet has been nowhere near as disruptive as it should have been. There's also a million different regulations, regulators, corruption, and rent seeking behavior. The gusto, willingness, and ability to actually do something and 'get past' these obstacles in any way possible is another big part of the reason that Uber succeeded.

          There's a lot of money in the world today, but not so many Travis Kalanicks. By giving away control of his company, he undersold himself. That's really the moral of the story. It is infinitely better to grow slow and maintain control than grow rapidly and depend upon others continuing to maintain your vision. There's no way to ruin a company quite as effectively as letting people who are only in it for a buck have a major voice. Ideally things like decentralized public offerings will enable this problem to be solved. Having just plurality control is not such a problem when the remaining control is held by a million. It's quite a problem when it's held by a dozen.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @06:50AM (6 children)

            by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @06:50AM (#575787)

            But the reality is that nobody else had yet chosen to pursue this idea in any real fashion.

            I sacrificed about 4 years worth of holidays/weekends in two startups - it can't get more real than that for me.
            One - back in 1998-2000- fell onto its nose before taking off (no money for hosting at the prices of the time).
            The other took off to about 1 foot over the ground. It flies there (say income of ¢30/month?) even now, after 2.5 years after launching.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @07:28AM (3 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @07:28AM (#575796)

              I like that you equate 30 cents with 30 centimeters. Hopefuly no measurement nazi will come to explain that a foot is not 30 cm.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @07:43AM

                by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @07:43AM (#575799)

                Sorry, down under the lowest coin is ¢5.
                I know that ¢35 is closer to ¢33, but I didn't want to give the impression we stroke rich already.

                (grin)

              • (Score: 2, Funny) by khallow on Monday October 02 2017, @12:02PM (1 child)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2017, @12:02PM (#575863) Journal

                explain that a foot is not 30.48 cm.

                FTFY, you ungrateful bastard.

                • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday October 02 2017, @07:04PM

                  by bob_super (1357) on Monday October 02 2017, @07:04PM (#576092)

                  My feet are 0.3048m, you SI-insensitive clod!

            • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @08:09AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @08:09AM (#575810)

              If you have no money then starting a product that relies on critical mass is obviously a terrible idea.

              I think people have no clue what entrepreneurs go through to start companies. Kalanick was not some rich boy, nor was he a smooth talker that just convinced a ton of people to give him lots of money. His first successful company was started while living literally with his parents and then later moving to Thailand to take advantage of a lower cost of living there as well. After most of everybody else had given up on the idea, he kept with it. That company would eventually be bought for $19 million. This in turn was money he invested into Uber to actually get it off the ground. Only once he'd already proven the idea incredibly successful did people suddenly want to buddy up with him and the rest is history.

              And that's a pretty typical state of affairs. Elon Musk developed a tiny company along with his brothers and a shoestring budget (he at one prior made an effort to see if he could live on a dollar a day food budget) that again was not a critical mass related product. After signing on a handful of big names to their product, they eventually sold the company and Musk made about $22 million. That went entirely into company after company until we rich the point of SpaceX/Tesla where once again he put absolutely everything he had into these companies and came within a hair's breadth of losing absolutely everything he had spent the past decade building. But once his 4th rocket succeeded (the first 3 failed) the rest is history.

              • (Score: 1, Troll) by crafoo on Monday October 02 2017, @01:53PM

                by crafoo (6639) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2017, @01:53PM (#575890)

                No no no! You don't understand, man. These people were just incredibly lucky and if I had the same luck I'd be where they are now, but just like, SO MUCH MORE socially conscious and racially diverse and gender-neutral and vegan-positive and stuff. Work ethic, discipline, and drive have really nothing to do with it. It's all just white privileged. Just ask my sociology professor.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 02 2017, @06:57AM

            by c0lo (156) on Monday October 02 2017, @06:57AM (#575788)

            There's a lot of money in the world today, but not so many Travis Kalanicks.

            And you wonder why? Because you can't get it flying without enough expose (both intensity and time-persistence)

            Most of the ideas today has the network effect [wikipedia.org] hurdle to cross - if you don't have money to attract enough providers and customers in the same time, you will fail no matter you implemented the most brilliant idea.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @02:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @02:51PM (#575912)

        Ideas are a dime a dozen. Everybody's got them. Money on the other hand is a scarce good.
        If the SV dreamers don't want to deal with the investor's wishes, they can try and get a loan from the bank.

        No bank is giving out loans for high flying ideas? Then the founder can try to grow the business, prove it is viable, before trying to *sell* it for millions to strangers. Beggars can't be choosers.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by aristarchus on Monday October 02 2017, @08:54AM (1 child)

      by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2017, @08:54AM (#575824) Journal

      Are you asking "who shot Travis?" I could wait a rather long time to find out. The more important question is why is not the entire crew in jail for racketeering and exploiting workers? And for having killed so many, just so many, kittens.

      --
      #freearistarchus!!!
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday October 03 2017, @01:40AM

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday October 03 2017, @01:40AM (#576363)

        Are you asking "who shot Travis?"

        Nope, I'm pretty sure Sue Ellen did it this time around.

        The more important question is why is not the entire crew in jail for racketeering and exploiting workers?

        This is in the future seasons. Also, won't happen all at once (the suspense need to be maintained if the soap opera is to have success. It may as well collapse by then, though, so don't hold your breath).

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @05:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @05:35AM (#575777)

    Travis Kalanick could use a High colonic [highcolonic.org].

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