It sounds like ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was not speaking lightly when, as we heard last week, he was talking about "Steve Jobs-ing it" and returning to head the company just two months after its board forced him to resign. A paywalled piece in The Information, picked up in turn by TechCrunch, suggests that Kalanick was been maneuvering behind the scenes to fight his way back into his former role, even though that could just sow more chaos for the company at a moment when it really doesn't need more chaos.
Kalanick reportedly asked some former colleagues who are still at the company if they would support him in the event of a shareholder battle and this comes after news last week that investor SoftBank was looking to buy out some other investors and amass their own stake in Uber, though it's unclear where or how Kalanick would benefit from such a move. (We do know that Benchmark, the major investor who'd be selling shares to SoftBank, was one of the key forces that pushed for Kalanick's ouster and hold their own seat on the board. Also, the SF Business Times notes that in an upcoming battle, Kalanick and other Class B or "common" shareholders could control a seven-seat majority on the board.)
Uber declined to comment to TechCrunch after the piece came out, but they note another "juicy detail" dug up by The Information, which is that executives at Uber specifically asked that individual board members not contact Uber employees for information without explicit approval from the full board and this may have come following a Recode story about an internal petition that employees were circulating pushing for the board to let Kalanick return as CEO.
Meanwhile, Uber's board is set to make a decision by Labor Day on a new CEO, and we learned over the weekend that they have a shortlist of three candidates, all of them white men, despite what seemed like a concerted effort to find a female chief executive to improve the company's image.
Stay tuned as this situation might just get a bit more dramatic.