Benchmark Capital, one of Uber’s earliest investors, wants to remove fellow board member Arianna Huffington from her post, according to a letter from another investor revealed early Wednesday.
The message was sent by Shervin Pishevar — a venture capitalist who is evidently budding heads with Benchmark — and obtained by Axios.
“Based on a conversation with a representative of Lowercase Capital [another Uber investor], we have learned that Benchmark also desires to remove Arianna Huffington from the Board of Directors and have made quite derogatory remarks about her,” Pishevar wrote. “The Lowercase Capital representative also said he coordinated with Ryan Graves on writing his announcement of his departure from his operating role at Uber and released it the same day of the Benchmark lawsuit.”
It is not clear what exactly was said about Huffington, the founder of the eponymous news site The Huffington Post.
Huffington and Graves recently signed a letter with other board members requesting that Benchmark and Kalanick settle their differences without going to court.
Pishevar, along with two other uber shareholders, formally asked the venture capital firm in his personal letter to step down from the ride-sharing company’s board of directors, according to Axios. He cites his reasoning, arguing that Benchmark’s lawsuit against dismissed CEO Travis Kalanick is counter productive, “unprecedented,” and impeding on the tech conglomerate’s ability to find a new leader.
Benchmark filed the legal complaint against the former CEO because it alleges Kalanick, among other things, is himself obstructing the search for a new CEO out of ostensible hopes to retain the helm. (RELATED: Dismissed Uber CEO: I’ll Be Back)
Pishevar sees the situation quite differently.
“Benchmark is holding the company hostage and not allowing it to move forward in its critical executive search,” he asserted. “The claim in your letter that your litigation efforts speed up on-boarding a CEO (sic) disingenuous or delusional.”
Pishevar, who is on Forbes “Midas List” for top tech investors, alleges that by blocking further investments, Benchmark is in a way sabotaging “Uber’s competitive position.” He also addressed Benchmark’s letter to employees, describing it as “unprecedented” as well. (RELATED: Investors Not Happy To See Holder, Huffington Investigating Uber)
“Please leave the employees alone,” Pishevar advised, “and let them be at peace so that they can continue to build a a great company without these unnecessary obstacles.”
Perhaps most notably, Pishevar also alleged that Benchmark violated “all governance protocol” for the company by “pressuring the founder and CEO [Kalanick] to resign without the Board’s support,” essentially claiming that Kalanick’s departure may have been mostly, or perhaps unilaterally, due to Benchmark.
In fact, Pishevar’s apparent displeasure over Benchmark’s decision to aggressively oust Kalanick is allegedly shared by another higher-up. Chris Saad, Uber’s head of product for its developer platform is leaving the company, according to TechCrunch, citing Kalanick’s expulsion as one of the reasons.
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