According to an e-mail seen by reporters on Monday, the top boss of Uber in Britain will quit the taxi-hailing app as the company prepares to meet with the London transport regulator in an attempt to continue operating in one of its most important foreign markets.
Last month, Transport for London (TfL) surprised the San Francisco-based app by considering it unfit to operate a taxi service and voting not to renew its licence to operate, citing the procedure of the firm in reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.
The licence of Uber expired on September 30. However, its roughly 40,000 drivers will be able to accommodate passengers for the Silicon Valley company until an appeals process has been done, which could take several months.
On Tuesday, Dara Khosrowshahi, the new global chief executive of the firm, will face the TfL commissioner in London in a move that is supported by the city’s mayor, who has criticised the management of the app in Britain but welcomed the apologetic tone and promise of a change of Khosrowshahi.
According to an email that was sent to staff that was seen by reporters, the Northern European Manager of Uber will leave the company in the next few weeks. She said the firm that is valued at around $70 billion required a replacement in the region to take on the issues it encounters.
“Given some of our current challenges, I’m also 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,” said Bertram.
“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.”
Bertram, who will take up an unrevealed new role elsewhere, will be replaced in her role in the United Kingdom by Tom Elvidge, the London boss of Uber, on an interim basis.
Khosrowshahi has apologised to Londoners for the mistakes of the firm. She will face Mike Brown, the commissioner of the TfL on Tuesday in an attempt to mend a fraught relationship between the taxi app and the regulator, which has provoked strong opposition from unions and traditional taxi drivers regarding working rights.
Uber has until October 13 to present its appeal, which will then be reviewed by a judge.
However, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is the chairman of TfL. Khan is a Labour politician who has always been critical of the app.
Last week, Khan singled out the management of Uber in Britain for criticism.
“The global CEO… seems to recognise some of the issues raised by the decision from TfL,” said Khan to Channel 4 news.
“I just wish that Uber in the UK would rather than hire an army of PR experts and an army of lawyers, would address some of the issues raised by the TfL decision,” said Khan.