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Kalanick Loyalists Move to Force Benchmark Off Uber’s Board


The letter was the latest protest against Benchmark’s efforts and a public show of support for Mr. Kalanick at a time when his allies have waned.

It is also yet another contentious twist for Uber, which was last valued at nearly $70 billion and operates in more than 600 cities around the world. Since January, the company has experienced a series of crises, including a scandal over sexual harassment and workplace culture, multiple lawsuits and the looming threat of a Justice Department investigation.

Uber declined to comment on the letter. Mr. Pishevar did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokeswoman for Benchmark and a spokesman for Mr. Kalanick.

In an email to its employees, the Uber board said “it has urged both parties to resolve the matter cooperatively and quickly, and the board is taking steps to facilitate that process.”

The letter was first reported by the news site Axios.

The battle at Uber is primarily over empty seats on the company’s eight-person board. Under the terms of Uber’s corporate charter, Mr. Kalanick has the power to name two more board members — a power that Benchmark is suing to nullify while also trying to remove Mr. Kalanick from the board entirely.

Some factions within Uber have said Mr. Kalanick is the root of the company’s problems, and have supported Benchmark’s actions.

Another contingent of early employees and other loyalists have sided with Mr. Kalanick, who, along with co-founder Garrett Camp, built Uber into a global transportation giant over the past eight years.

Mr. Pishevar, a longstanding ally of Mr. Kalanick’s and an early friend in the venture capital and entertainment industries in Los Angeles, is one of the few to show public support for Mr. Kalanick.

The letter ended with a call for other shareholders to join him.

“We ask you to please consider the lives of these employees and allow them to continue to grow this company in peace and make it thrive,” it said. “These actions do the opposite.”

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