- Uber’s spectacular meltdown in 2017, full of executive departures, is well-documented.
- Business Insider has the inside story of how and why several key people in former CEO Travis Kalanick’s brain trust really quit.
- On the way out the door many of them, including Uber’s former head lawyer Salle Yoo, negotiated some financially sweet deals for themselves.
- Read the full story: THE TAKEDOWN OF TRAVIS KALANICK: The untold story of Uber’s infighting, backstabbing, and million-dollar exit packages
Business Insider has just published the full untold story of Uber’s tumultuous 2017 which documented how several company insiders went head-to-head with Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, on their way out the door.
Whatever emotional drama Uber’s roster of departing executives endured before they left, Uber was certainly good for their pocket books, multiple sources told us. Many executives negotiated for severance packages that included millions of dollars in stock, or sometimes, millions in cash.
Uber’s former top lawyer, Salle Yoo, is a case in point. She joined Uber as its first in-house lawyer in 2012, when the company was just a 90-person startup and grew her team to to 290 people by mid-2017.
For most of her time at Uber she and Kalanick had a good working relationship, sources told us, but as Uber grew bigger and more complex, Kalanick felt that too many legal issues were falling through the cracks with serious consequences, including lawsuits. To Yoo, Kalanick was the problem. She felt she was kept out of the loop on matters that could affect the company’s legal risk.
After Waymo, the self-driving car startup spun out of Google, sued Uber, things came to a head between them. Kalanick and Yoo mutually decided that Yoo and Uber should part ways.
On her way out the door, Yoo asked for an eye-popping $100 million severance package, several people told Business Insider.
Yoo thought it was only fair because she had seen male executives ask for huge exit packages and get them. She had spent her career at Uber encouraging women to lean in. So she took her own advice, opened her negotiations with Kalanick by shooting high and held her breath.
Kalanick wasn’t about to agree to that huge sum and they negotiated down from there. Yoo’s final package was still worth tens of millions, but less than two-thirds of her initial demand.
But she brilliantly negotiated a kicker: If Uber gave a better severance deal to another employee, the company had to come back to her and match the difference.
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