The former boss of Uber, Travis Kalanick, ruled out in June, following various scandals, was named Friday as he retained the right, two new members to the board of directors, in a move likely to raise tensions at the head of the group.
“The appointment of Mrs. (Ursula) Burns and Mr. (John) Thain to the board of directors are a complete surprise to Uber and its board. This is precisely the reason why we are working to put in place governance that is of high quality, to ensure that we build a company where each employee and each shareholder is proud of”, indicated to the AFP a spokesman for the group, confirming information from the Wall Street Journal and the news site Recode.
The former CEO of the controversial group, Travis Kalanick, was still a member of the board and retained the right to appoint two other members in addition to himself. “I am pleased to announce that Ursula Burns and John Thain have agreed to join the board of directors of Uber,” said Kalanick in a written statement quoted in the press.
It is made of choice : Ursula Burns was until recently the head of Xerox (where she became the first black woman CEO of a big american company), while John Thain, among others, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, has also led the New York stock Exchange (NYSE).
“There is no doubt that the board will benefit from their valuable knowledge, their advice and their independent observation at a time when Uber (…) is preparing for an ipo”, said also Mr. Kalanick, who place and of the allies to his side on the board.
Travis Kalanick is a foot of nose to an important investor group, Benchmark Capital, that challenges specifically to the former boss the right to appoint members to the C. A, the suspecting of wanting to keep control on the group of car rental with drivers. The board of directors had torn a good part of the summer of 2017, split between supporters and detractors of the former boss.
Mr. Kalanick shows that he is not ready to let go of the piece, even as the tensions at the head of the group seemed to calm down since the appointment at the end of August a new boss, Dara Khosrowshahi. He had indicated in the wake of preparing for an ipo within 18 to 36 months.
Another important point for the group, the japanese group SoftBank is interested in investing in Uber an estimated $ 10 billion dollars by the press. An investment which opposes precisely… Benchmark Capital, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Uber, which has accumulated financial losses, faced a whirlwind of controversy for months: charges of sexual harassment, theft of technology, corruption, use of illegal software, all on the bottom of conflicts with its own drivers and taxis traditional in several countries. Last episode in date, London has just refused with a crash to the renewal of its licence.
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