Uber pads out UK board as battle for London licence continues
Susan Hooper and Roger Parry have been appointed as non executive directors on Uber’s UK board.
Uber has appointed two big hitters to its UK board, including a former British Gas executive, as the ride hailing firm battles to keep its service running in London.
New non-executive directors Susan Hooper and Roger Parry will sit in on their first board meeting later this month, joining Laurel Powers-Freeling who was appointed as Uber’s first non-executive UK chair in November.
Both appointments bring a raft of cross-industry experience to the table, with Ms Hooper having served in roles including managing director of British Gas Residential Services and chief executive of Acromas Group’s travel division where she was responsible for Saga holidays, the AA Travel division and Titan Travel.
She now sits on the boards of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), Wizz Air and UK-listed gambling company Rank Group.
Mr Parry currently serves as chairman of data analytics and market research firm YouGov and was previously at the helm of firms including Johnston Press – publisher of the Yorkshire Post, Scotsman and the i newspapers – More Group, and Future Publishing.
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in the UK, said: “At a time when Uber is going through an important period of change we’re really pleased two such experienced individuals are joining us.
“Under our new leadership we’re implementing major changes including more safety features, improvements for drivers and a new approach to partnering with cities.
“Susan and Roger’s wide range of experience will be invaluable as we continue to develop and mature as a business.”
Uber’s new board members join just months before the company is set to have its appeal heard over its right to operate in London.
It’s testament to Uber’s willingness to address past issues and follow the path of good governance that two individuals of their calibre have decided to work with us Laurel Powers-Freeling, non-executive chair of Uber UK
Transport for London (TfL) decided not to renew the ride-hailing app’s licence last September on the grounds that it was “not fit and proper” to operate in the capital.
TfL raised a number of issues when it stripped the ride-hailing firm of its licence, including Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how drivers’ medical certificates are obtained, how criminal record checks are carried out, and its use of technology which allegedly helps it to evade law enforcement officials.
Uber launched its appeal in mid-October and will be heard at Westminster Magistrate’s Court at the end of June.
UK chairwoman Ms Powers-Freeling said the new appointments were proof that Uber was willing to change.
“It’s testament to Uber’s willingness to address past issues and follow the path of good governance that two individuals of their calibre have decided to work with us.
“With their combined experience in transportation, working constructively with cities and delivering for consumers, we strengthen our ability to understand and address the needs of all our stakeholders,” she said.
The app – which enables users to book cars using their smartphones and is available in more than 40 towns and cities across the UK – is used by some 3.5 million passengers and around 40,000 drivers use the service in London, according to Uber.