Uber chief weighs trip to London to lobby against ban


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Uber chief weighs trip to London to lobby against ban
Dara Khosrowshahi tries to strike a humble and conciliatory tone.

Uber’s new chief executive, is considering travelling to London to meet the regulators who have decided not to renew the ride-hailing app’s licence to operate in its most important European market.

Mr Khosrowshahi, who is just three weeks into his new position, has had to quickly take on the role of chief diplomat at Uber, attempting to strike a more humble and conciliatory tone than his predecessor, the pugnacious Travis Kalanick, and trying to put out the regulatory conflagrations that threaten Uber’s global business.

How he handles the situation in London and whether he chooses to become personally involved by meeting regulators there will be Mr Khosrowshahi’s first big policy test. It could also be crucial in determining the direction of a complex $10bn investment deal that Uber is negotiating with SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Last week Transport for London, the regulatory body chaired by mayor Sadiq Khan, said it planned to revoke Uber’s London licence because it deemed the company unfit, though Uber can continue to operate while it appeals against the decision. Mr Khan invited the new Uber chief to meet TfL. “Even though there is a legal process in place, I have asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with him,” Mr Khan said. Uber has little choice but to play nice in a market that is one of its top three global cities by turnover, as well as one of its most heavily regulated. “I think Dara can’t not go,” said Mark MacGann, who previously headed Uber’s European policy team, referring to a London trip. “He will want to go show his brand of leadership . . . Sending anyone else would be viewed as the ‘old, arrogant Uber’.” Uber's London problems One advantage of showing up in person is that Mr Khosrowshahi could use the occasion to assert his personal brand of diplomacy. However, the new chief executive has a lot else on his plate, including hiring a chief financial officer and general counsel, handling Waymo’s lawsuit over alleged theft of trade secrets and negotiating a complex investment deal worth more than $10bn with SoftBank and other investors, including Didi of China.

For years Uber followed a growth-at-all-costs model advocated by Mr Kalanick, an approach that often flouted local taxi regulations and earned the company a reputation for operating outside the law. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi in an open letter That notoriety has been difficult for Uber to shake off, even as Mr Khosrowshahi tries to turn over a new leaf by being candid about the company’s shortcomings. “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” he wrote in an internal memo to staff just after the TfL decision. “Going forward, it’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do.” His tone became even more contrite in an open letter published on Monday. “On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made,” he wrote. Not everyone has been assuaged by Uber’s new message, and the company’s critics maintain that one of its key business advantages has always been its willingness to exploit regulatory loopholes. “They’ve got a lot of dirty water under the bridge, and when they come asking for forgiveness, it seems to me kind of premature until they have cleared all the things that have to be cleared,” said Benjamin Edelman, a professor at Harvard Business School. Among the areas the company might address to make amends, he suggested the group could refund erroneous passenger charges. But the change in command at Uber also presents regulators with an opportunity to press for fresh concessions. “Uber will do anything to keep the PR image, they don’t want any negativity,” said Santosh Rao, analyst at Manhattan Venture Partners. “So they will give in more now. This is the right time to demand concessions from Uber because they need to get it right, they cannot lose Uber UK.” Even if Uber does win back its licence from TfL — the appeals process on the decision is expected to take several months — the company will face other big hurdles in the UK market. One of the top targets for Uber’s critics is its tax structure and the fact that it routes all passenger payments through a Dutch subsidiary to avoid booking those revenues in the UK. The company also faces uncertainty over whether courts will categorise its drivers as employees who should get benefits, or as independent contractors, which is what Uber prefers. These risks, along with the threat of being banned by TfL, mean that Uber faces a difficult fight before it can stand on firm regulatory footing in the UK, no matter how diplomatic Mr Khosrowshahi may be.


Article don't mention that Uber's model is DUMPING and the cities outside US of north america are finaally getting it. Dumping subsidized rides where ever Uber can get away with it.


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