Don’t overstate investor power at Uber


Why won’t the investors do something?

I read all sorts of variations of that question last week, in regards to the Uber kerfuffle. Some people felt that the company’s shareholders — who have invested around $1.5 billion — should fire CEO Travis Kalanick. Others felt they should insist that Kalanick fire Emil Michael, the Uber executive who floated the possibility of spending $1 million to investigate the private lives of critical journalists. At the very least, they should make sure that Uber employees can’t access user data in order to turn dinner party tricks.

But here’s the reality: Uber’s investors don’t have the power to do any of that.

Like many of the other hot Silicon Valley tech companies, Uber’s governance structure is said to be heavily tilted toward management. Just like Facebook’s [fortune-stock symbol=”FB”] board couldn’t overrule or fire Mark Zuckerberg, I’m told that Uber’s board can’t overrule or…

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