Ousted Uber CEO but still-Uber-board-member Travis Kalanick named two new directors to Uber’s board without consulting anyone else at the ride-hailing company he founded.
Despite Kalanick’s looming presence over Uber, the people actually running the company now were not happy with his scheme.
“The appointments of [former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns] and [former Merrill Lynch chief John Thain] to Uber’s Board of Directors came as a complete surprise to Uber and its Board,” Uber said in a statement. “That is precisely why we are working to put in place world-class governance to ensure we are building a company every employee and shareholder can be proud of.”
That’s corporate speak for hell no.
Kalanick announced he had added Burns and Thain to the board late Friday.
“I am appointing these seats now in light of a recent board proposal to dramatically restructure the board and significantly alter the company’s voting rights,” Kalanick said to Bloomberg. “It is therefore essential that the full board be in place for proper deliberation to occur, especially with such experienced board members as Ursula and John.”
Kalanick stepped down as CEO of Uber in June after months struggling to recover from scandal after scandal. Sexism and sexual harassment at Uber, allegedly stolen technology from Google’s self-driving car division, and other problems led factions of Uber’s investors to push for Kalanick’s departure. Kalanick himself is facing a lawsuit from Uber investor Benchmark Capital.
Uber’s board is set to vote on a plan to revamp Uber’s corporate governance next week. That could minimize some of the control Kalanick and Benchmark, as early investors, still hold over the company. Potential reforms could also make it more difficult for Kalanick to ever return as CEO.
When Uber says in its statement that it’s “working to put in place world-class governance to ensure we are building a company every employee and shareholder can be proud of,” that’s a shot at Kalanick.