Benchmark’s Bill Gurley is set to leave Uber’s board of directors, one day after the company announced the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick following months of controversy over its corporate culture. A Benchmark spokesman told Bloomberg, which first reported the news of Gurley’s departure, that his board seat will be filled by Matt Cohler, another Benchmark general partner.
According to a New York Times article about the behind-the-scenes machinations that ultimately led to Kalanick’s resignation, Gurley began pushing for a leadership change after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post that described multiple instances of sexual harassment at Uber. Last week, while Uber was waiting to release the results of an internal investigation into its company culture, Kalanick agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence to develop his leadership skills and grieve his mother, who was recently killed in a boating accident that also seriously injured his father. But Gurley believed that Uber ultimately needed a new CEO and began speaking with other Uber investors about pressing Kalanick to step down.
Bloomberg reports that while Gurley’s push to oust Kalanick gained some support, it also upset other people at Uber. Cohler’s appointment to the board is interesting because of his friendship with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (Cohler was one of Facebook’s first employees and its former vice president of product management), who is reportedly one of the board’s top candidates to replace Kalanick.
Gurley’s resignation is the latest of several changes to Uber’s board. TPG’s David Trujillo joined this week, replacing his colleague David Bonderman, who resigned after making a sexist joke during a company-wide meeting about the results of Uber’s internal investigation, while Nestle SA executive Wan Ling Martello took a seat earlier this month. One thing will stay the same, however: Kalanick will remain on the board after resigning as chief executive.