Former Xerox chief joins Uber's board of directors

Oct 2, 2017
Originally published on October 1, 2017 7:32 am

Former Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns has been appointed to the board of directors of Uber. But that move apparently came as a surprise to the ride-hailing company.

Last week, Former Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick named Burns and ex-Merill Lynch chief John Thain to the Uber board. Kalanick resigned under pressure as CEO of Uber in June. Dara Khosrowshahi was named the new CEO of Uber, but Kalanick remains on the board of the privately held company.

“I am appointing these seats now in light of a recent board proposal to dramatically restructure the board and significantly alter the company’s voting rights,” Kalanick said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg. “It is therefore essential that the full board be in place for proper deliberation to occur, especially with such experienced board members as Ursula and John.”

Uber’s board reportedly had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on a plan to revamp the company’s corporate governance.

According to Bloomberg, Uber expressed concern at Kalanick’s announcement. “The appointments of Ms. Burns and Mr. Thain to Uber’s board of directors came as a complete surprise to Uber and its board,” the company said. “That is precisely why we are working to put in place world-class governance to ensure that we are building a company every employee and shareholder can be proud of.”

Kalanick cited the corporate experience of Burns and Thain in making the appointments, according to techcrunch.com, and noted that both "have engineering degrees and are incredibly talented and proven problem solvers."

Burns stepped down from her roles at Xerox after the company split into two businesses.