- REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A group of Uber shareholders is calling for venture-capital firm Benchmark Capital to be removed from Uber’s board.
According to Axios’ Dan Primack, Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Capital, Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Companies, and Adam Leber of Maverick sent a petition Friday morning to other Uber investors and Uber’s board of directors calling for Benchmark to step aside.
The petition also asks that Benchmark divest enough of its shares so it no longer has board appointment rights, according to Axios.
The request comes one day after Benchmark filed a lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick over allegations of fraud. Benchmark claimed in its suit that it would never have approved a 2016 expansion of Uber’s board that allowed Kalanick to fill a board seat had it been aware of the controversy surrounding Kalanick and of Uber’s cultural problems. The suit accuses the former CEO of mismanagement and packing the board with supporters.
The investors’ email, which was obtained by Axios, requests Benchmark remove itself from the board in order to allow Uber to “realize its full potential by allowing the necessary work to be done in the Board Room rather than Courtroom.”
While the investors say they agree there are issues within Uber, they call Benchmark’s tactics “ethically dubious and, critically, value-destructive rather than value enhancing.”
Josh Mohrer, the former general manager of Uber’s New York City office who left Uber in May, tweeted about his distate for Benchmark’s actions after the investor email was published Friday:
— Josh Mohrer (@joshmohrer) August 11, 2017
Later on Friday, five of Uber’s directors decried the infighting in a statement given to the New York Times.
The board “is disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation,” directors Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Ryan Graves, Ariana Huffington, Wan Ling Martello and David Trujillo said in the statement. “The Board has urged both sides to resolve the matter cooperatively and quickly, and the Board is taking steps to facilitate the process.”
In the meantime, the directors added, the board is focusing on trying to find a new CEO. It already has “several outstanding candidates,” they said.
You can read the full email from the shareholders to Benchmark over at Axios.