Inside the New Proposal That Exacerbated Uber’s Board Divisions

Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies.
Michel Porro | Getty Images
Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies.

SAN FRANCISCO — The phone calls began late Friday among Uber's new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, and the ride-hailing company's executives, as well as board members and a raft of lawyers. They were facing an emergency.

The problem was that Travis Kalanick, Uber's former chief executive and a board member, had appointed two new directors — Ursula Burns, the former C.E.O. of Xerox, and John Thain, the former chief of Merrill Lynch — to the privately held company without informing them. The moves, which pushed the eight-member board to 10 people, gave Mr. Kalanick new potential allies on major decisions at Uber.

Mr. Kalanick's actions were "disappointing," Mr. Khosrowshahi wrote on Friday in a letter to employees that was obtained by The New York Times. "Anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual."

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