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Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley, whose firm Benchmark was one of Uber's earliest investors, has stepped off the ride-hailing company's board and will be replaced by fellow Benchmark partner Matt Cohler, who helped broker Benchmark's original investment in Uber. Bloomberg first reported the move, which Axios has confirmed.

Why: Gurley for years was a vocal supporter of Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick, but yesterday was part of the group of investors who requested that Kalanick resign from his job as the company's chief (which he did, although he will remain on the board of directors). By that point, their relationship had become so strained that Cohler and Benchmark's Peter Fenton handled most of yesterday's discussions with Kalanick (Fenton also was under consideration to be the replacement).

Gurley's resignation is at Kalanick's request, in an effort to make sure the board functions more smoothly going forward, according to a source. Gurley also has been actively involved in the new CEO search and an ongoing COO search, and he is expected to maintain some level of involvement in those processes.

Board shuffle: This will be the second change to Uber's board over the past week. Last Tuesday, TPG Capital chairman and co-founding partner David Bonderman resigned after making a sexist remark to a fellow board member during a company meeting, and will be replaced by TPG's David Trujillo.

Go deeper

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

35 mins ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in United Kingdom

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.