Economy

Uber's Kalanick says he appoints former Xerox, Merrill bosses to board

Uber's Kalanick says he appoints former Xerox, Merrill bosses to board”

Khosrowshahi's meeting in Uber's biggest European market comes the same day the company's board of directors is set to meet and reportedly discuss proposals that would limit the power of rogue ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.

Uber is curbing the power of former CEO Travis Kalanick and taking on Japan's SoftBank Group as a major new investor as the ride-hailing service tries to recover from internal strife and a myriad of legal headaches.

On Friday, Kalanick responded by filling two vacant board seats with Burns, the former Xerox CEO and Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch CEO.

In London, Khosrowshahi, who apologized last month for the company's past mistakes, struck a hopeful tone that Uber and London could strike a deal.

The 11-person board voted unanimously on Tuesday (Oct 3) to approve sweeping changes to the company's power structure, the company said.

Not only will the future of Uber's leadership be decided tomorrow but Khosrowshahi will be in London meeting with the city's transportation commissioner and begging to be allowed to resume his company's operations after they were abruptly shut down nearly two weeks ago. The company is seeking to shore up its reputation after a series of scandals and to move beyond a battle between Kalanick and Uber investors spearheaded by Silicon Valley's Benchmark Capital.

After meeting with British regulators, Uber's new CEO dialed into the meeting, which took place after lunchtime in San Francisco.

Softbank has agreed to make an initial investment of between $1 billion and $1.25 billion in Uber, buying new shares to maintain the company's $69 billion valuation, the person familiar with the board's decision said. The plan would expand the size of the board to 17, which would accommodate two spots for SoftBank representatives and more independent voices, said a person familiar with the matter. "We approved moving forward with the SoftBank transaction and reached unanimous agreement on a new governance framework that will serve Uber well".

"The appointments of Ms. Burns and Mr. Thain to Uber's Board of Directors came as a complete surprise to Uber and its Board". Benchmark has also refused to sell any of its shares to SoftBank unless it states in writing "that it would reject reappointing Kalanick as chief executive officer and block his appointment as chairman of the board or head of one of its subcommittees", according to sources speaking anonymously with Bloomberg.

"Today's action is a naked violation and repudiation of those rights", he said in a statement. It's also facing a high-profile lawsuit filed by Google spinoff Waymo that alleges Uber engineered a $680 million deal to steal its self-driving auto technology. This decision pre-dated the sexual harassment allegations from a former engineer that sparked a leadership-shaking internal review.

Though decision on the surface is a win for Waymo, which filed the motion for continuance in hopes of finding further evidence that Levandowski stole and Uber used trade secrets belonging to Google, Judge Alsup's warning to Waymo in court suggests things may be looking up for Uber in the case. "I think if you had been finding smoking gun after having 96 people, or however many you have working on this case, you would have brought it to me to say "This shows how Uber is guilty".



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