Uber, beset by scandal, faces battle over 'destructive' lawsuit

Uber shareholders revolt against venture firm after surprise lawsuit

Uber shareholders call on Benchmark Capital to step down from board after its lawsuit against former boss Travis Kalanick

The venture capital firm says that would harm Uber's shareholders, employees, drivers and customers. It accused Kalanick of breaching his fiduciary duty and contractural obligations by loading up Uber's board with friends.

Benchmark charged: "It is apparent that Kalanick has attempted to acquire the power to pack the Board to facilitate his desired re-appointment as Uber's CEO".

San-Francisco-based Uber is still seeking a new CEO and on Thursday its global operations chief revealed to staff in an email that he would be standing down from the role in mid-September.

In June, Kalanick resigned from the CEO post under a lot of pressure, much of which was contributed by Benchmark. On Monday, after hearing "confusion" around the CEO search process, Uber co-founder and board member Garrett Camp said that won't be the case.

But it would seem being CEO is far different than maintaining control as a board member, for just as quickly, he appointed himself to one of three board seats, so that Uber's members of the board now number 11 instead of the previous eight.

A spokesperson for Kalanick said the lawsuit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations".

Benchmark also felt that Kalanick failed to satisfactorily respond to the numerous discrimination and sexual harassment instances that have cropped up with the company. Despite his absence, sources say he remained eligible to vote as Uber's board of directors; a practice that alarmed Uber's biggest investors. The other two seats are still vacant, notes TechCrunch. It's also asking the court to suspend any board-level voting, such as hiring a new CEO, until the court rules on the status of the three additional board seats. "Benchmark's lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create".

"Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected", the statement said.

A representative for Uber declined to comment on the lawsuit.

© 2017 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. Kalanick has been tied to these internal crises, with publications painting him as a "pugnacious" CEO with a relentless approach to dealing with business.

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