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By Greg Bensinger and

Maureen Farrell
June 21, 2017 8:18 p.m. ET

Travis Kalanick's decision to step down as chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc. stunned his more than 12,000 employees and rippled through Silicon Valley, but it was the culmination of weeks of maneuvering by some of the firm's biggest backers to oust the nearly $70 billion company's co-founder.

Mr. Kalanick was in Chicago on Tuesday to interview a candidate for his top deputy position when a visitor unexpectedly approached him to discuss his future, according to people familiar with the matter.

A partner from venture-capital firm Benchmark, one of Uber's biggest investors, hand-delivered a letter signed by five major shareholders, demanding the 40-year-old CEO immediately resign after a series of scandals consumed the company, these people said.

After hours of deliberating, Mr. Kalanick capitulated and informed the board he would resign, the people said, ending a seven-year reign at the ride-hailing service he built into the world's most valuable private company.

Even in the midst of a number of controversies, Mr. Kalanick's abrupt surrender was a stunning fall for one of the most celebrated careers in Silicon Valley in recent years. Tech entrepreneurs idolized the pugnacious Mr. Kalanick for snubbing convention and prioritizing winning at all costs, and investors hailed him as the model for a founder.

"I never thought I would be writing this," Mr. Kalanick emailed to employees on Tuesday evening, some 2,000 miles from Uber's headquarters in San Francisco. "As you all know, I love Uber more than anything in the world, but at this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted a group of investors' request to step aside."

Only three months earlier, in March, Uber's board publicly stood by Mr. Kalanick, with director Arianna Huffington telling reporters he had their full confidence as the company searched for a chief operating officer. Mr. Kalanick had admitted he needed to "grow up" and get "leadership help" following a spate of scandals, highlighted by allegations in February from engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti that Uber's workplace allowed sexual harassment and sexism to fester.

But a few weeks ago, partners at Benchmark began hatching a plan to pressure Mr. Kalanick to resign, according to the people familiar with the matter. Benchmark's partners, which include Uber's longtime board member Bill Gurley, were concerned that the firm's reputation would be sullied by all of Uber's problems, these people said.

...
Uber at the time was close to learning the results of a workplace probe the company had ordered be conducted by the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber also was challenging a lawsuit from Google parent Alphabet Inc. over trade-secret theft, while the Justice Department was just beginning an investigation into Uber's use of technology to evade regulators.

The Holder investigation, as well as the controversies around Mr. Kalanick, also were threatening to further hamper a critical search for a chief operating officer, which was entering its fourth month and from which several candidates had walked away, according to people familiar with the matter.

It became clear from conversations with potential COO recruits that few would take the job if Mr. Kalanick stayed, they said. One board member, David Bonderman of private-equity firm TPG, voiced impatience with Mr. Kalanick over how slowly the search was going, one person said.

Several investors believed it was time for Mr. Kalanick to exit, but they felt they had little sway over the company's decisions, let alone over a chief executive whose voting shares protected him from a forced ouster, people familiar with the matter said.

The investors believed a letter signed by a group of influential shareholders was the only way to force out Mr. Kalanick, two people said. If the letter was released and nothing changed, the board would be seen as defending Mr. Kalanick, these people said.

Mr. Kalanick took an indefinite leave from Uber starting last week, a move he said was necessary to mourn the sudden death of his mother in May and to focus on returning as a reinvigorated leader. The Holder report, meanwhile, recommended nearly 50 changes be made to improve Uber's culture, including expanding the role of a future COO, more independent board seats and mandatory leadership coaching.

Expecting his leave would be short, Benchmark decided it needed to act before Mr. Kalanick returned to his daily role as CEO, two of the people said.

By Monday of last week, Benchmark had found four additional investors to sign the letter, including First Round Capital; Lowercase Capital; Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments, according to people familiar with the matter. Benchmark's Mr. Gurley attempted to get other board members to sign but at least one of them refused because they didn't want their voice represented by Mr. Gurley, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.

After receiving the letter on Tuesday, Mr. Kalanick sought counsel including with another board member, according to people familiar with the matter. He decided the pressure from investors was too great and stepped down, they said.

The CEO role at Uber is a doubled-edged sword. Recruiters describe it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to run a company that made $6.5 billion in revenue last year and has become a default mode of transportation for millions of people around the world. At the same time, any successor will have to contend with scandals on numerous fronts, a leadership team gutted by executive departures and ousters, and a workplace culture criticized for its alleged chauvinism.

They will also have to contend with Mr. Kalanick, who is expected to remain an influential presence at the ride-hailing company: He will keep a seat on Uber's board of directors and he retains control of a majority of Uber's voting shares.

"The investors are going to be looking for not only someone who is transformative but a big public-relations success," said Bart Friedman, a corporate governance expert and senior counsel at law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. "It is going to have to be a headsnapper."

...



Better article, with a holy shit moment

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/technology/uber-travis-kalanick-final-hours.html

Inside Travis Kalanick's Resignation as Uber's C.E.O.

Travis Kalanick's final hours as Uber's chief executive played out in a private room in a downtown Chicago hotel on Tuesday.

There, Mr. Kalanick, who was on a trip to interview executive candidates for Uber, was paid a surprise visit. Two venture capitalists - Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton of the Silicon Valley firm Benchmark, which is one of Uber's biggest shareholders - presented Mr. Kalanick with a list of demands, including his resignation before the end of the day. The letter was from five of Uber's major investors, including Benchmark and the mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments.

Mr. Kalanick balked, according to people briefed on the meeting who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential. Mr. Kalanick, who had built Uber into a transportation behemoth in just eight years, quickly called Arianna Huffington, an Uber board member, for advice. Ms. Huffington told Mr. Kalanick that the suggestions in the letter were worth considering. That afternoon, Mr. Kalanick locked himself in a room with Mr. Cohler and Mr. Fenton to hash out the best course for Uber.

By the end of the day, after hours of haggling and arguing, that course was clear: Mr. Kalanick agreed to step down as Uber's chief executive.

...

Last week, right before Uber unveiled some of the results and recommendations of an internal investigation into its culture, Mr. Kalanick acceded. He said he would take an indefinite leave of absence to work on himself and reflect on building a "world-class leadership team" for Uber.

In reality, Mr. Kalanick had little intention of staying away from his company. Almost immediately after announcing the leave of absence, he worked the phones to push out Mr. Bonderman for making the sexist comment onstage at an Uber employee meeting. With the two increasingly at odds, Mr. Kalanick sent out a flurry of texts, phone calls and emails to his allies to pressure Mr. Bonderman to step down from Uber's board. Hours later, Mr. Bonderman did.

By then, Mr. Gurley, who had been one of Mr. Kalanick's earliest supporters, saw that Uber's promises of change were not enough if the chief executive stayed on.

Over the past week, Mr. Gurley and his partners spoke with other Uber investors at venture capital firms, including First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures. Together, they came up with a letter to Mr. Kalanick that listed four demands, the foremost being his resignation.

Benchmark has a surprise meeting with Travis, decapitating Travis.


Later, an awkward meeting between a Zombie Kalanick and Gurley is why Gurley resigned from the board (and Zombie Kalanick is still on the board.)


Rumor is Zombie Travis has decided to be Godfather to Chelsea's baby...

 

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http://archive.is/eTu9w

By Greg Bensinger and

Maureen Farrell
June 21, 2017 8:18 p.m. ET

Travis Kalanick's decision to step down as chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc. stunned his more than 12,000 employees and rippled through Silicon Valley, but it was the culmination of weeks of maneuvering by some of the firm's biggest backers to oust the nearly $70 billion company's co-founder.

Mr. Kalanick was in Chicago on Tuesday to interview a candidate for his top deputy position when a visitor unexpectedly approached him to discuss his future, according to people familiar with the matter.

A partner from venture-capital firm Benchmark, one of Uber's biggest investors, hand-delivered a letter signed by five major shareholders, demanding the 40-year-old CEO immediately resign after a series of scandals consumed the company, these people said.

After hours of deliberating, Mr. Kalanick capitulated and informed the board he would resign, the people said, ending a seven-year reign at the ride-hailing service he built into the world's most valuable private company.

Even in the midst of a number of controversies, Mr. Kalanick's abrupt surrender was a stunning fall for one of the most celebrated careers in Silicon Valley in recent years. Tech entrepreneurs idolized the pugnacious Mr. Kalanick for snubbing convention and prioritizing winning at all costs, and investors hailed him as the model for a founder.

"I never thought I would be writing this," Mr. Kalanick emailed to employees on Tuesday evening, some 2,000 miles from Uber's headquarters in San Francisco. "As you all know, I love Uber more than anything in the world, but at this difficult moment in my personal life, I have accepted a group of investors' request to step aside."

Only three months earlier, in March, Uber's board publicly stood by Mr. Kalanick, with director Arianna Huffington telling reporters he had their full confidence as the company searched for a chief operating officer. Mr. Kalanick had admitted he needed to "grow up" and get "leadership help" following a spate of scandals, highlighted by allegations in February from engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti that Uber's workplace allowed sexual harassment and sexism to fester.

But a few weeks ago, partners at Benchmark began hatching a plan to pressure Mr. Kalanick to resign, according to the people familiar with the matter. Benchmark's partners, which include Uber's longtime board member Bill Gurley, were concerned that the firm's reputation would be sullied by all of Uber's problems, these people said.

...
Uber at the time was close to learning the results of a workplace probe the company had ordered be conducted by the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber also was challenging a lawsuit from Google parent Alphabet Inc. over trade-secret theft, while the Justice Department was just beginning an investigation into Uber's use of technology to evade regulators.

The Holder investigation, as well as the controversies around Mr. Kalanick, also were threatening to further hamper a critical search for a chief operating officer, which was entering its fourth month and from which several candidates had walked away, according to people familiar with the matter.

It became clear from conversations with potential COO recruits that few would take the job if Mr. Kalanick stayed, they said. One board member, David Bonderman of private-equity firm TPG, voiced impatience with Mr. Kalanick over how slowly the search was going, one person said.

Several investors believed it was time for Mr. Kalanick to exit, but they felt they had little sway over the company's decisions, let alone over a chief executive whose voting shares protected him from a forced ouster, people familiar with the matter said.

The investors believed a letter signed by a group of influential shareholders was the only way to force out Mr. Kalanick, two people said. If the letter was released and nothing changed, the board would be seen as defending Mr. Kalanick, these people said.

Mr. Kalanick took an indefinite leave from Uber starting last week, a move he said was necessary to mourn the sudden death of his mother in May and to focus on returning as a reinvigorated leader. The Holder report, meanwhile, recommended nearly 50 changes be made to improve Uber's culture, including expanding the role of a future COO, more independent board seats and mandatory leadership coaching.

Expecting his leave would be short, Benchmark decided it needed to act before Mr. Kalanick returned to his daily role as CEO, two of the people said.

By Monday of last week, Benchmark had found four additional investors to sign the letter, including First Round Capital; Lowercase Capital; Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments, according to people familiar with the matter. Benchmark's Mr. Gurley attempted to get other board members to sign but at least one of them refused because they didn't want their voice represented by Mr. Gurley, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.

After receiving the letter on Tuesday, Mr. Kalanick sought counsel including with another board member, according to people familiar with the matter. He decided the pressure from investors was too great and stepped down, they said.

The CEO role at Uber is a doubled-edged sword. Recruiters describe it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to run a company that made $6.5 billion in revenue last year and has become a default mode of transportation for millions of people around the world. At the same time, any successor will have to contend with scandals on numerous fronts, a leadership team gutted by executive departures and ousters, and a workplace culture criticized for its alleged chauvinism.

They will also have to contend with Mr. Kalanick, who is expected to remain an influential presence at the ride-hailing company: He will keep a seat on Uber's board of directors and he retains control of a majority of Uber's voting shares.

"The investors are going to be looking for not only someone who is transformative but a big public-relations success," said Bart Friedman, a corporate governance expert and senior counsel at law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. "It is going to have to be a headsnapper."

...



Better article, with a holy shit moment

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/technology/uber-travis-kalanick-final-hours.html

Inside Travis Kalanick's Resignation as Uber's C.E.O.

Travis Kalanick's final hours as Uber's chief executive played out in a private room in a downtown Chicago hotel on Tuesday.

There, Mr. Kalanick, who was on a trip to interview executive candidates for Uber, was paid a surprise visit. Two venture capitalists - Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton of the Silicon Valley firm Benchmark, which is one of Uber's biggest shareholders - presented Mr. Kalanick with a list of demands, including his resignation before the end of the day. The letter was from five of Uber's major investors, including Benchmark and the mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments.

Mr. Kalanick balked, according to people briefed on the meeting who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential. Mr. Kalanick, who had built Uber into a transportation behemoth in just eight years, quickly called Arianna Huffington, an Uber board member, for advice. Ms. Huffington told Mr. Kalanick that the suggestions in the letter were worth considering. That afternoon, Mr. Kalanick locked himself in a room with Mr. Cohler and Mr. Fenton to hash out the best course for Uber.

By the end of the day, after hours of haggling and arguing, that course was clear: Mr. Kalanick agreed to step down as Uber's chief executive.

...

Last week, right before Uber unveiled some of the results and recommendations of an internal investigation into its culture, Mr. Kalanick acceded. He said he would take an indefinite leave of absence to work on himself and reflect on building a "world-class leadership team" for Uber.

In reality, Mr. Kalanick had little intention of staying away from his company. Almost immediately after announcing the leave of absence, he worked the phones to push out Mr. Bonderman for making the sexist comment onstage at an Uber employee meeting. With the two increasingly at odds, Mr. Kalanick sent out a flurry of texts, phone calls and emails to his allies to pressure Mr. Bonderman to step down from Uber's board. Hours later, Mr. Bonderman did.

By then, Mr. Gurley, who had been one of Mr. Kalanick's earliest supporters, saw that Uber's promises of change were not enough if the chief executive stayed on.

Over the past week, Mr. Gurley and his partners spoke with other Uber investors at venture capital firms, including First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures. Together, they came up with a letter to Mr. Kalanick that listed four demands, the foremost being his resignation.

Benchmark has a surprise meeting with Travis, decapitating Travis.


Later, an awkward meeting between a Zombie Kalanick and Gurley is why Gurley resigned from the board (and Zombie Kalanick is still on the board.)


Rumor is Zombie Travis has decided to be Godfather to Chelsea's baby...

". . . a list of demands, including his resignation before the end of the day." Yup, they knew Trav . . .
 
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