Jo Bertram, Uber's top boss in northern Europe, is leaving the beleaguered company for a new, but not yet disclosed, role at another company as the ride-hailing app fights for its licence to operate in London, .
Bertram has overseen Uber's operations in London, the UK and across the rest of Europe since 2013.
The exit was announced at an all-hands meeting of the company this morning.
In an email seen by City A.M. sent by Bertram to colleagues, she said:
When I joined as general manager for London, we had just three team members in the city and a few hundred drivers. Together, we then rolled out our services to more than 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, where we now serve almost 5m riders and more than 50,000 drivers.
It's a fresh blow to the startup, which is embroiled in its toughest battle to date with regulators in London. Bertram noted the bad timing of her exit in the email.
"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.
"While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter. I’ll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition."
London general manager Tom Elvidge will become acting UK general manager while a search takes place for a successor. He will report to Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's head of Europe Middle East and Africa, as will Niek Van Leeuwen, the general manager for the Nordics, Baltics and Benelux region.
Uber's new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi will tomorrow meet with Transport for London's chief Mike Brown in an effort to secure the ride-hailing firm's business in the capital.