Uber's CEO flies down to London for emergency meeting for latest troubles

Jo Bertram said that she had decided it was time to move on “to something new and exciting”

To prepare for that, the company would create two new board seats for SoftBank as well as hire three additional independent directors and a chairperson, bringing membership on the board to 17 people.

Among the approved proposals Tuesday, Uber's board agreed to revoke certain investors of their so-called supervoting rights, which granted them multiple votes per share, a person familiar with the matter said.

Uber Technologies Inc.'s board has approved a series of corporate reforms along with a multibillion investment from SoftBank Group Inc. that are created to strengthen the ride-hailing company's governance while at the same time strip power from former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

"SoftBank's interest is an incredible vote of confidence in Uber's business and long-term potential, and we look forward to finalizing the investment in the coming weeks", Uber said in a statement late on Tuesday night (3 October).

Benchmark, which has a board seat, also had super voting shares in Uber and will see its control diminished along with Kalanick's. "Anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual". Among the biggest wins for Kalanick was a vote allowing him to keep the three board seats that he controlled, with Benchmark agreeing to drop its suit against the former Uber chief once the SoftBank deal was approved.

The deal appears to significantly curtail Kalanick's power, a somewhat surprising outcome after the Uber cofounder's surprise move on Friday to unilaterally appoint two handpicked board members.




The changes in governance, however, are contingent on Softbank's investment going through. According to a source with knowledge of the proposal, it includes measures that would reduce Kalanick's voting rights while expanding Khosrowshahi's clout on the board.

The moves came as Uber is seeking to shore up its reputation after a series of scandals and to move beyond a battle between Kalanick and Uber investors spearheaded by Benchmark Capital. That suit is proceeding in private arbitration after a judge removed it from open court. In this setup, all shareholders will eventually have only a single vote per share, irrespective of the class of company stock they own. However, after corporate governance proposals were presented last week, he chose to exercise his right to appoint Burns and Thain.

Uber's board held a phone call Saturday to discuss the governance proposals.

The firm's new global chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will meet the TfL commissioner on Tuesday in London in a move backed by the city's mayor, who has criticized the app's management in the Britain but welcomed Khosrowshahi's apologetic tone and promise of change. Kalanick's other seat would require Khosrowshahi's approval and would need to be filled by a C-suite member of a current Fortune 100 company.

This move comes at a time when there is a rift in the board, especially with former CEO Travis Kalanick.

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