- Thrive Global
Uber’s Machiavellian drama rumbles on.
The latest board-level spat involves an early investor, Shervin Pishevar; a shareholder, Benchmark Capital; and a board member, Arianna Huffington.
Pishevar, in a letter seen by the news websites Axios and Recode, has accused Benchmark Capital of trying to oust Huffington from Uber’s board. She has been on the board since April of last year and has served as a face of the company while helping to oversee an internal investigation into its culture since its CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down.
Pishevar wrote: “Based on a conversation with a representative of Lowercase Capital, we have learned that Benchmark also desires to remove Arianna Huffington from the Board of Directors and have made quite derogatory remarks about her.”
There are several layers to this. Lowercase Capital is another early Uber investor, but Kalanick and its founder, Chris Sacca, “barely speak”. Benchmark is already in the news for bringing a fraud lawsuit against Kalanick. And in the background, Uber is trying to appoint a new CEO and deal with a massive legal fight with Google.
Pishevar said Uber’s other investors were “confounded” by Benchmark’s behaviour, both in terms of the lawsuit and the apparent plotting. He accused the firm of collaborating with Lowercase in “efforts that are adverse to Uber.” He said the two investors “co-ordinated” with an important former Uber staffer, global senior vice president of operations Ryan Graves, to announce his resignation on the same day as Benchmark’s lawsuit, maximising the bad publicity.
Pishevar added: “Benchmark is holding the company hostage and not allowing it to move forward in its critical executive search. The claim in your letter that your litigation efforts speed up on-boarding a CEO disingenuous or delusional.”
He concludes his letter by asking Benchmark to resign from Uber’s board and accused it of blocking other potential investors from putting money into the firm.
According to earlier reports, Pishevar is trying to buy out Benchmark’s stake in Uber.