The well-regarded venture firm was an early investor in and said in the lawsuit that it owns 13 per cent of and controls 20 per cent of the voting power. The statement accused Benchmark of "acting in its own best interests contrary to the interests of Uber" and denounced the legal action as a "transparent attempt to deprive of his rights as a founder and shareholder." and Benchmark Capital declined to comment.
Kalanick's control over those three seats has allowed him to stay so actively involved at Uber that it's been hard for the company to find a new CEO, Benchmark claims in its suit.
Benchmark, one of Uber's earliest big investors, .
Benchmark, in its lawsuit filed on Thursday, is seeking to force Kalanick off the board, and accuses him of concealing a range of misdeeds and scheming to retain power at the company even after he was forced to resign as chief executive in June. However, the lawsuit marks a rare occurrence of an investor in Silicon Valley suing one of the founders of a start-up. "So I will do everything in my power to deliver on those goals for the benefit of our organization and the millions of people - riders, drivers, eaters and couriers - and their communities that Uber serves every day". Gurley resigned from Uber's board in June after he grew increasingly unhappy with Kalanick's behaviour, according to sources close to the situation.
Besides claims of fraudulent behavior, Benchmark's lawsuit also notes several controversies that have put Uber in a pickle, including its dispute with Waymo, a mishandled rape case in India, sexist allegations, and its alleged tracking program called Greyball.
Benchmark's suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, seeks to have Kalanick removed as a director by reversing the board-expansion decision. The other two remain vacant.
Early this week, Uber Chairman and co-founder Garret Camp confirmed to the employees that Kalanick was not coming back as CEO.
Pishevar, Burkle and Leber - who are not members of the board of directors - said Benchmark's lawsuit harms Uber's valuation, interferes with fundraising efforts and impedes the company's search for a new CEO to replace Kalanick.
The suit, which calls on a DE court to bar Kalanick from tinkering with the Uber board in any way, argued that Kalanick saw his resignation as unavoidable and finagled to "pack the board with loyal allies in an attempt to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as CEO". The investor indicated that some of the top CEOs are scared to take up the job.