Uber Hires Former Amazon Executive for Key European Role
(Bloomberg) -- For the past four years, Jamie Heywood has been responsible for Amazon.com Inc.’s electronics retail business in the U.K. He’s now heading to Uber Technologies Inc., where he’ll be in charge of its British operations as well as those of 11 other European countries.
As the ride-hailing company deals with regulatory fallout in many key markets, Uber’s regional general manager in Europe, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, said Heywood’s “wide range of international experience in both regulated industries and scaling fast-growing businesses will be invaluable for the next phase of Uber’s development.” Prior to joining Amazon, Heywood held several roles in the telecommunications industry, including executive positions at Virgin Mobile in China, India and the U.K.
Heywood arrives just ahead of an existential moment for Uber in London. Last year the city’s transport regulator banned the company from operating in the U.K. capital -- its biggest market outside the U.S. -- because of safety concerns. The business was permitted to continue operating during an appeal and a five-day hearing will begin during Heywood’s first month in the job, on June 25.
He fills a key role left vacant when Jo Bertram, the general manager in charge of Uber’s business in the U.K. and Northern Europe, resigned in October. Bertram left as then-incoming CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was due to arrive in London to meet with regulators about the company’s license renewal, after the threat of a ban was made public in September. Uber said Bertram’s departure was unconnected to the license issue, and that Tom Elvidge, the general manager in charge of London, would take over running the rest of the U.K. business until a permanent replacement was found.
Since then the company has been making changes to appease regulators and regional critics. It created 24-hour telephone support hotlines, promised better contact with police and pledged to report “serious incidents” that occur during a passenger’s journey, and to share drivers’ license details with riders. It also began imposing limits on the number of hours workers could log before being required to take a break.
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