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Travis Kalanick Pulls a Power Play by Appointing 2 Board Members to Uber’s Board without discussing it with New CEO

Travis Kalanick Pulls a Power Play by Appointing 2 Board Members to Uber’s Board without discussing it with New CEO
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Travis Kalanick has been gone, but not for long, as the CEO of Uber. The company had a long haul finding a new CEO, since every prospective candidate was threatened by the former CEO’s overpowering nature and his tendency to act alone instead of working with his team. Looks like they were right all along.

Travis Kalanick recently kept up his amateurish behavior by naming two new directors to Uber’s board without consulting Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s newly hired CEO. Per reports, he did not even consult the existing board members before making the decision.

Kalanick announced on Friday the appointment of Ursula Burns (Xerox’s former CEO) and John Thain (the former chief of Merrill Lynch), to the company’s board. The company’s executives and board of directors challenged the appointments, calling them “a complete surprise.”

“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 in a statement emailed 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.”

Uber expressed concern at Kalanick’s announcement and made the following statement shortly after they found out:

“The appointments of Ms. Burns and Mr. Thain to Uber’s board of directors came as a complete surprise to Uber and its board. 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.”

Below is the full text of Kalanick’s statement:

I am happy to announce that Ursula Burns and John Thain have agreed to join Uber’s Board of Directors. Until earlier this year, Ursula was Chairman and CEO of Xerox, while John was formerly CEO of CIT Group, Merrill Lynch, and NYSE. Ursula and John are two highly accomplished corporate leaders with extensive board experience.

Their backgrounds include successfully leading large public companies as chief executives and chairs, navigating dynamic, technology-powered and regulated industries, and guiding tens of thousands of employees around the world.

Both Ursula and John have engineering degrees and are incredibly talented and proven problem solvers. 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. I am grateful for their enthusiastic support of Uber.

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. 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.

I am confident that, with their additions and Dara’s appointment, Uber will be well situated to focus on the future and continue to revolutionize how cities move.


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Megha Shah
Megha Shah
A dreamer, traveler, aspiring entrepreneur and a bookworm beyond repair, Megha Shah is extremely fond of writing and has been doing so since she was a child. Apart from being a part-time writer, Megha is currently in college, pursuing B. Com. (Hons). Megha is an ardent follower of ‘Hardship, Hustle and Heart’ and firmly believes in the power of hard work and destiny!

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