- Uber has appointed a former Amazon executive to head up its Northern and Eastern European business, including the UK.
- Jamie Heywood will arrive just as Uber gears up for a legal fight over losing its licence to operate in London.
- Heywood’s appointment comes six months after predecessor Jo Bertram quit.
- Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is fighting to prove the company has changed, after critics pointed to the firm’s record on safety and its failure to disclose a major data breach.
Uber has appointed former Amazon executive Jamie Heywood as regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, as it tries to put out the multiple fires which threaten its business.
Heywood was formerly a director of electronics for Amazon in the UK, and a director at Virgin Mobile before that. According to his LinkedIn profile, he speaks fluent Mandarin.
His appointment comes six months after his predecessor Jo Bertram stepped down. His role covers 12 countries in Europe, including the UK, and Uber says it has more than 110,000 drivers and 8 million active riders in the region.
Heywood will endure a baptism of fire, since Uber is currently fighting to maintain its presence in the UK.
The company lost its licence to operate in London – its biggest European market – in September 2017 after the capital’s regulator Transport for London said the company wasn’t “fit and proper” to hold a licence.
Uber is challenging TfL’s decision in court but, if it loses that legal battle, it will have to quit the capital. Uber’s appeal is scheduled for June, according to Reuters.
Uber also lost its licence to operate in Brighton in May this year.
Since appointing a new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, the firm has been fighting to prove it has changed, introducing limits on the number of hours drivers can work, and proactively reporting serious incidents in London to the Metropolitan police. Khosrowshahi also met with London’s regulators twice in an effort to smooth over relations.
Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s vice president and regional general manager in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Heywood will play an important role in the changes.
“Jamie’s leadership will also be crucial as we implement major changes across Europe including more safety features, improvements for drivers, and a new approach to partnering with cities,” Gore-Coty said.
Uber does have better UK governance since its Khosrowshahi executive stepped in last August. The company appointed businesswoman Laurel Powers-Freeling as its new independent non-executive chair last October, and former travel head of Acromas Susan Hooper and media entrepreneur Roger Parry as non-executive directors this year.