Uber rocked by fresh boardroom power struggle

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has sparked a power struggle at the company by unilaterally naming two new directors to the board.

Mr Kalanick announced the appointments in a statement on Friday without consulting the new chief executive or the rest of the board.

He brought in Ursula Burns, the former CEO of Xerox, and John Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, to sit at Uber’s big table.

The appointments were made ahead of a planned vote on Tuesday to restructure the corporate governance of the company, and “came as a complete surprise to Uber and its board”, the company said.

The move is being seen as indicative of the continuing power struggle which saw Mr Kalanick step down as the firm’s CEO in June.

Uber’s largest shareholder, Benchmark, has taken legal action against him, challenging his authority to fill the two board seats.

“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,” Mr Kalanick told 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.”

Among the restructuring ideas that have been reported is one which would strip Kalanick of one of his three board seats and give it to an investor.

Uber said moves such as these appointments prove a new governance structure is necessary.

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