Uber’s ousted CEO Travis Kalanick has appointed two members to the firm’s board of directors for seats under his control in a move reportedly meant to solidify his influence in the company, a media report said. Kalanick has appointed former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and former CIT Group CEO John Thain to positions on the ride-sharing company’s board of directors, The Hill magazine quoted The Wall Street Journal as saying in the report.
Kalanick, who was forced out as the company’s CEO in July, was granted control of three spots on the board as part of a 2016 investment deal. “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,” Kalanick said in a statement. “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.”
The move is a defiant rebuke of one of Uber’s largest investors, Benchmark Capital. The firm is suing Kalanick for control of two of his seats on the board, alleging that Kalanick agreed to hand over control of them in July. The board has 11 members in total. In July, Kalanick was forced out of the company over a number of controversies and mis-steps, including allegations of widespread sexual harassment against women throughout the company.
Kalanick said at the time that he wished to avoid distracting the company with “another fight”, The Hill magazine reported “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” he said. At the time, the company called Kalanick’s move a “bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber”.