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Sprint’s Marcelo Claure will join Uber’s board, which is set to grow to 17 directors

Once on the CEO list, he’ll take one of two SoftBank seats — the other going to the Vision Fund’s Rajeev Misra.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, wearing a Royals baseball jersey, throws out the ceremonial first pitch as the Kansas City Royals play the Seattle Mariners.
Marcelo Claure is joining the team at Uber.
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images

Sprint’s Marcelo Claure, who was once on the short list to be CEO of Uber, will be joining its board in the next few weeks, several sources confirmed.

The globe-trotting telecom CEO, whose name has been previously floated for the seat, will take one of two director slots that Japanese investment giant SoftBank is getting, as part of a successful tender offer by SoftBank that is set to be completed at the end of this month.

The other will go to Rajeev Misra, who is head of SoftBank’s Vision Fund that led the multi-billion dollar deal to buy a big stake in the car-hailing company.

Sprint is owned by SoftBank, and Claure and Misra are also on that board. Claure was also one of the candidates that some on the Uber board had put high up on its CEO list.

The pair will join the 11 current Uber directors, who include Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and ousted CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick, as well as large investors and several independent ones.

And while a baker’s dozen might be a lot for what is still a non-public company, one of the results of the board’s longtime infighting is that it is still on the hunt for three more independent directors as well as an independent chairman.

Yes, 17 people — or nearly two baseball teams. If that sounds potentially unwieldy and possibly chaotic for Uber’s governance, you’d be right! (And while perhaps not so good for Uber, it’s an extra-leaky gift that keeps on giving for all the media covering the company because, well, 17 directors to wear down — um, ask for comment!)

Uber is looking at a range of board candidates, said sources, with the focus on the chairman slot, and Khosrowshahi will be a key part of that selection process. That’s why his former boss, IAC and Expedia chairman Barry Diller, is one name that has been most rumored for the job and still is, despite telling Recode last year that he did not want it.

“No,” Diller said when asked at a tech conference in October if he would consider taking the chairmanship at Uber. “I have enough work — to say the least.”

It’s no surprise that the suffer-no-fools Diller would not be interested in taking on such a big and doubtlessly complex role — which, to my mind, might be akin to cat wrangling. (And while Diller can most certainly skin a cat, well, who wants to do that?)

While the mega-board is definitely down the dysfunctional highway that Uber has long been riding on, many there hope it is perhaps the last bump for the long-troubled company that never met a wall it did not crash into. Uber still has several major issues to contend with, including several major government investigations, regulatory messes and lawsuits.

Oh yeah, Lyft recently got $1 billion from CapitalG, Google parent company Alphabet’s growth equity fund. Google Ventures is an investor in Uber too.

To help clean up the mess — I just imagine he must open a drawer daily and find yet another dead body — Khosrowshahi has made several key substantive hires, such as former PepsiCo exec Tony West for its general counsel and former Orbitz CEO Barney Hanford as its COO. He has also been aiming to hire a CFO — Uber has been without one for a while — and many other top jobs. Many internally hope he adds several more women to the senior management team.

No comments all around from Uber, SoftBank — and all the cats.

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