Former Uber chief names 2 directors

SAN FRANCISCO: Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Friday unilaterally appointed two new members to the board of directors in a surprise move that increased tension within the leadership of the popular ride service.
Kalanick, who was pressured to resign in June as head of Uber which dominates the market for smartphone on-demand car rides, retains sizeable voting rights in the privately-held company that he co-founded.
On Friday, he appointed former Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns and former CEO of CIT Group, Merrill Lynch, and the New York Stock Exchange John Thain to the board.
The appointments came ahead of a board vote next week on reducing Kalanick’s voting power, US media reported.
“Ursula and John are two highly-accomplished corporate leaders with extensive board experience,” Kalanick said in a statement. “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,” he said.
“There is no doubt the board will be well-served by their valuable insights, counsel and independent perspective as Uber moves into the next phase of growth and prepares for a public offering.”
The board was not consulted about the appointments. “The appointments of Ms Burns and Mr Thain to Uber’s Board of Directors came as a complete surprise to Uber and its board,” the company said in a brief statement.
“That is precisely why we are working to put in place world-class governance to ensure that we are building a company every employee and shareholder can be proud of.”
The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and the online site Recode.
Uber’s board of directors is split between detractors and supporters of Kalanick, who had been the driving force behind the company’s massive global expansion but whose brash style made him a liability.
Tensions appeared to subside in August with the appointment of Dara Khosrowshahi, former boss of Expedia, as the new Uber head. — AFP