Uber’s regional manager for northern Europe has quit – barely a fortnight after the ride-hailing app was stripped of its licence in London.
A spokesman for the embattled company has denied Jo Bertram’s departure was driven by the shock decision, and a Companies House filing shows she tendered her resignation on 30 August.
But Ms Bertram said: “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.”
On Tuesday, Uber’s new global chief executive is due in the capital for showdown talks with Transport for London (TfL).
Dara Khosrowshahi is set to meet transport commissioner Mike Brown to discuss TfL’s decision not to renew the company’s operating licence on the grounds it was “not fit and proper” to hold one.
Ms Bertram has been a key figure in Uber’s operations, joining four years ago as its general manager for London before taking the wider London-based role under Pierre Gore-Coty – Uber’s head in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
She is taking up an undisclosed role elsewhere, and will be replaced by Tom Elvidge on an interim basis.
Mr Khosrowshahi has vowed to “make things right” in London after TfL expressed concerns over Uber’s approach to public safety and security.
Among the issues raised by Transport for London include how Uber reports serious criminal offences, how drivers’ medical certificates are obtained, and how criminal record checks are conducted.
TfL also criticised the San Francisco-based company for using technology that allegedly helps it to evade law enforcement officials.
Sky News reported last month, after the licence ruling, that Uber was hunting a City grandee to drive its bid for a reprieve.
Mr Khosrowshahi joined the company a month ago from Expedia, after a bitter boardroom battle prompted Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick to relinquish the role.
He will have to grapple several grounds for concern among officials in London about the way Uber operates.
The app is used by some 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London alone, and the company can continue to operate while it appeals TfL’s decision.
Uber has until 13 October to submit its appeal, which will be reviewed by a judge.