Benchmark Capital, which owns a 13 per cent stake in the ride-sharing company, is suing the former CEO for fraudulently attempting to fill board seats with people loyal to him to pave the way for his return.
Benchmarks lawyers allege in their legal filing that Kalanick sought to “entrench himself on Uber’s board of directors and increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends.”
“Kalanick’s overarching objective is to pack Uber’s Board with loyal allies in an effort to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as CEO,” the filing says.
Benchmark is seeking to have three extra board seats at Uber, added by Kalanick in June last year, removed. Kalanick currently holds one of those seats, with the other two vacant. Should the suit be successful, he faces being forced out of the company completely.
The former Uber CEO reportedly told friends that he was “Steve Jobsing it” – believed to be a reference to former Apple founder Steve Jobs’ removal from the company he founded, only to return ten years later as CEO.
Kalanick was removed as CEO following a wave of scandals that hit the popular ride-sharing company, including nvestigations into sexual harassment, gender discrimination and what was described as a “toxic” work-place culture.
In addition to internal turmoil, the company is also facing an external court action by self-driving Waymo, which is accusing it of stealing aspects of its self-driving car technology.
A spokesperson for Kalanick said the suit was “completely without merit” and accused Benchmark of “acting in its own best interests contrary to the interests of Uber”.
Neither side would offer any further comment on the lawsuit.