Ongoing Uber Power Struggle Is Still Ongoing

Posted October 06, 2017

This deal resulted in Uber's board seats expanding from 11 to 17, Recode reports, which really moves the power structure within the company around. The decisions bode poorly for Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who has sought to retain his influence over the company after stepping down as CEO in June, and could pave the way for broader changes in Uber's worldwide operations. More importantly, the board agreed to strip "super-voting" rights of certain investors that held multiple votes per share, and institute a new "one share, one vote" standard for all investors.

Uber Technologies Inc.'s board has approved a series of corporate reforms along with a multibillion investment from SoftBank Group Inc. that are created to strengthen the ride-hailing company's governance while at the same time strip power from former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick. The move ensures "equality among shareholders", Uber said in a statement following the meeting, but the board hasn't exactly kicked Kalanick to the curb.

Any SoftBank deal would still require finding existing stockholders who hope to sell their positions.

There's a new battle brewing in the ongoing war for control at Uber as the company prepares to reset itself after appointing a new CEO. "Anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual".

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In addition to the corporate governance changes, which will eventually see all shareholders receiving one vote per share of stock they own, regardless of the class, Uber also chose to move forward with an investment from the Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank.

These changes came after Kalanick named two new directors without consulting any other members of the directive group. That suit was sent into private arbitration and the sides are in the process of selecting an arbitrator. However, after corporate governance proposals were presented last week, he made a decision to exercise his right to appoint Burns and Thain.

The governance proposal, written with the help of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., would shift Uber shareholders to one share, one vote.

On Aug. 30, media mogul and Uber board member Arianna Huffington posted a happy photo to her Twitter account.

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In a statement to Business Insider Friday night, Kalanick basically admitted his surprise appointments were created to get in front of the proposed changes to the board structure. Kalanick's move appeared to have succeeded, and the pair will remain on the board. SoftBank will be getting three seats while three other spots will be filled by independent directors. After Kalanick resigned in June, he appointed himself to one of those seats.

As Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi lobbied officials in London to reverse a citywide ban, the new chief executive officer also had his attention on a different kind of politics at headquarters.

Travis Kalanick, Uber co-founder and CEO and Michael Arrington TechCrunch founder (not shown) talk during a fireside chat at TechCrunch Disrupt SF on Monday, September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, Calif.

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