Monday , 24 September 2018
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Uber’s London lady boss leaves amid TfL licence row

THE LADY WHO HEADS UP Uber’s UK operations from a base in London is leaving one of the controversial company in favour of something more ‘exciting’. 

UKIP maybe? No, we joke. Jo Bertram, head of northern Europe affairs, is leaving Uber at a time when the firm could do with some support. It has just been effectively banned from the UK and is trying to get its licence back.

It has been accused of so much bad stuff we expect its logo to have a neck tattoo and grills on its teeth. Let’s take a walk down Uber memory lane. Hold on tight and keep your hands inside the vehicle.

This last year has been a bad one for the firm, we’ve had a CEO, Travis Kalanick, hurling abuse at a driver. He apologised for the incident, but it certainly helped to cement Uber’s reputation as a bad place to work, especially if you recall the time in 2016 when it attempted to not pay drivers in London a living wage.

The firm also did nothing to endear itself to Londoners when it emerged that surge, or popularity pricing – which hikes up fees at periods of high demands, had been turned on when people were trying to escape from a terror attack.

Over in the US, the firm is firmly under the watch of the Federal Trade Commission because it chose to use something called God View to really intrude on personal privacy. The FTC won’t take its beady eyes off Uber for two decades, unless of course, Uber does not last that long.

That is not the sole evidence of the taxi firm acting like a national government. It was accused in May of mining people’s credit card data without their knowledge. Which no one wanted, particularly law enforcement.

CEO Travis Kalanick did not weather this storm well, and the shareholders of Uber, think of them as some kind of dark counsel, decided he ought to pack up his stuff and get an Uber out of there.

So he has gone, and the firm lost a president after just six months, and it has fired 20 chaps for overtly sexual behaviour and advances. It is not a great picture, and we can see why Jo Bertram might want to wash her hands of it, and then wash them again, and again and again.

The BBC reports on an email that she sent out to people in the London office in which she said “I’ve decided to move on to something new and exciting,” As we have already hinted there cannot be many companies with so much going on or as many challenges.

Uber told the BBC that her the departure has nothing to do with “recent events”. So it may be down to any one of the awful things done before then. µ



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