Uber’s UK boss has quit the company as it battles London regulators over a threat to revoke its licence and faces bitter divisions on its board.
Jo Bertram, who is head of Uber’s northern European markets and has been a primary point of contact with London’s TfL transport authority on regulatory matters, has announced she will move to a different company. She has been at Uber for four years, where she started as general manager for the London office.
“Given some of our current challenges, I’m . . . convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase,” she said in an internal email seen by the Financial Times, on the eve of a meeting between Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi and TfL boss Mike Brown.
“While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter,” she said.
According to Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Uber in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the search is on for a replacement.
The news came just a day before Khosrowshahi meets Transport for London for a conciliatory meeting after the regulator ruled Uber was not “fit and proper” to hold a London operating license.
The meeting will be the start of “hopefully constructive dialogue”, rather than a full resolution of Uber’s issues in London, according to sources close to the company.
It will be particularly critical for Mr Khosrowshahi, who has promised to transform the corporate culture at Uber and issued an open apology to Londoners after TfL threatened to revoke the company’s licence.
Bertram had been a key contact between Uber and TfL, according to emails released in response to a Freedom of Information request. She has been involved in negotiating on a range of regulatory questions, from streamlining the licensing process to securing permission for new Uber services in London.
Her directorship was terminated on August 30, according to a Companies House filing, a few weeks before TfL officially notified Uber about its license, although Uber told the press at the time that this was related to an earlier role change.
Earlier this week, it also emerged that Mr Khosrowshahi faced bitter disagreement on the Uber board when former chief executive Travis Kalanick suddenly announced two new board members, without consulting the rest of the board first.
In an email to staff, Khosrowshahi said the move was “disappointing” and that Kalanick had not discussed it with him first. “Anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual,” he wrote to staff.