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Uber Board Approves Series of Corporate Reforms
06 October 2017, 12:37 | Melanie Burgess
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"Today's action by the board was the culmination of a blatant bait and switch, essentially robbing loyal employees, including the more than 200 early founding Uber employees and advisors, of their hard earned shareholder rights", Pishevar and Russell said.
It would include expanding the 11 board seats to as many as 17 people, including three independent directors voted on by the board and up to three seats for SoftBank.
"Our new CEO had a constructive meeting with the Transport Commissioner this afternoon", Uber said in a statement. In London, Uber says it has more than 40,000 drivers and more than 3.5 million riders who use the app at least once every 90 days.
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In a statement to Business Insider Friday night, Kalanick basically admitted his surprise appointments were created to get in front of the proposed changes to the board structure.
Changes included eliminating "super-voting" power of some shares, such as those owned by Kalanick, to shift to a one vote per share model that would curtail the co-founder's clout, according to the source. Khosrowshahi was taken by surprise on Friday when Kalanick appointed two corporate titans - former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and former Xerox Corporation CEO Ursula Burns - to the board with little notice. The same brashness that convinced hundreds of municipal governments to accept Uber as an alternative to taxis also led the company to face a lawsuit over alleged IP theft, a criminal probe over alleged privacy violations, and a public backlash for a culture that reportedly enabled sexual harassment.
Uber's licence expired on September 30, but its roughly 40,000 drivers are still able to take passengers until an appeals process is exhausted, which could take several months. It's not clear whether the pair will join the board, though at least one current director believes the group will embrace Kalanick's appointees, a person familiar with the matter said. "Under Dara's leadership and with strong guidance from the Board, we should expect great things ahead for Uber", Kalanick said. The company in a statement said the board had agreed to move forward with the SoftBank deal in coming weeks and governance changes at Uber "that would strengthen its independence and ensure equality among all shareholders".
The agreement is a major victory for Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who is in London after meeting with taxi regulators there to appeal a looming citywide ban.
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