Benchmark Capital Files Suit Against Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Ryan Graves is stepping down as SVP but will stay on the board.                  LinkedIn

The investment firm said Kalanick concealed the the full scope of the controversies from Benchmark and Uber's board when it came time to vote on adding three new board seats that would have given the former CEO more power. Kalanick is also accused of hiding a tool to deceive local authorities called Greyball from the board.

Benchmark further says that in moving to add the three board seats a year ago, Kalanick "intentionally concealed and failed to disclose his gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber" which they say included "pervasive gender discrimination and sexual harassment". Ryan Graves, Uber's first employee and a former chief executive at the company, is stepping down from his role as senior vice president of operations, but will remain on the company's board, according to media reports.

Specifically, Benchmark Capital's complaint focuses on a 2016 decision to expand Uber's board of voting directors from eight to 11 seats.

The company is also being taken to court by self-driving firm Waymo, which has accused Uber of stealing aspects of its self-driving vehicle technology.

Benchmark's lawsuit exemplifies the level of chaos within Uber's ranks as the $69 billion company has continued its search for a new CEO. Kalanick gave one to himself after his resignation and left the other two unfilled.

Benchmark was one of the earliest investors in the ride-sharing firm and holds a seat on its board of directors.

Uber wrote in a statement that the lawsuit is "without merit and riddled with lies". Uber has fired at least 20 employees as a result of that investigation. 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 stakehodlers and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected".